Implications of the Nurse Shortage
In every health care delivery system, the nursing population is of much importance. Among all health care workers, one in every four is a nurse. This is a clear indication of the crucial ancillary role that nurses play in a health care system- an obvious determinant of the success of any health care system. However, there is a global voracious appetite for nurses which indictors show that the governing bodies of many nations cannot ameliorate in the near future. Consequently, this shortage continues to percuss to every single citizen of a country, particularly patients. This extends further to the practicing nurses.
According to Kimball and O’Neil (2001), the nursing shortage has led to the decrease in the number of operating room personnel (OR) (as cited in Feldman, 2003). This implies that a great number of cases which require immediate surgery, minor or complicated, have to be postponed or addresses in an untimely fashion. Such delays may lead to undesirable effects or even death. Nadine Lambert, vice president nursing and respiratory therapists, Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux of Quebec, add that most nurses in the OR are above 45 years of age, which renders the OR another vulnerable area (as cited in Gyulai, 2011).
Reportedly, the nursing shortage is causing strain taxpayers in many countries as the government of these countries resolve to hiring private nurses services. As Gyulai (2011) writes, taxpayers in Quebec have had to part with 158 million USD in tax in the last year to enable the government hire the nurse assistants, with the aim of countering the shortage of nurses. Moreover, such measures are just short-term with a guarantee the situation will ultimately recur.
Nurses also feel a pinch of the ongoing nurse shortage. The practicing nurses do not have an option but to work for extended hours as a ramification of the shortage. The nurses also have more work to do during the normal working hours, for instance, a nurse in the intensive care unit should only look after a single patient, though currently such a nurse has the obligation of looking after more patients. This increases the margin of medical errors, which can be detrimental to the patient (Feldman, 2003; Gyulai, 2011).
In brief, the shortage in nurses has tremendously profound implication to everyone and in particular the patients. Arguably, the shortage would worsen if a working and lasting solution is not found. Many lives have lost as a result of errors during medical care and the number will keep on increasing.
Feldman, H.R. (2003). The Nursing Shortage: Strategies for Recruitment and Retention in Clinical Practice and Education. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, Inc.
Gyulai, L. (2011, January 22). Nurses wanted – stat! Montreal Gazette. Retrieved from:http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/youthzone/Nurses+wanted+stat/4147166/story.html