Staffing is a fundamental element to take into consideration in order to ensure a smooth flow of nursing activities in any Oncology unit. As a nurse, the three things relating to staffing that have proved to be a source of challenge are; the failure of new nurses in the workforce to administer chemotherapy to patients, when a good proportion of chemo-certified nurse’s call in at the same time leaving the workforce with hardly anybody to administer the service, and the shortage of personnel within the nursing labour force that are Chemo-certified which makes it difficult to continue offering the service in the institution.
Focusing on the introduction of new nurses to the workforce, it is difficult for them to handle some of the tasks allocated to them appropriately without supervision (Saleh, 2008, p.51). Sometimes, the attitude of some new nurses to the work is negative and they tend to willingly avoid doing some tasks like administering chemotherapy to patients. Though, this is not a trait that is apparent in all new nurses it upsets me greatly. I tend to feel that before any person decides to pick on nursing as a profession, he or she should be prepared to undertake all the activities that comprise their job not only in the right way but excellently. With this school of thought, I tend to find myself angry about these mistakes that several nurses commit. This sometimes affects the way I sometimes treat them at a personal level. However, I feel that there is a dire need for me to take their mistakes differently. Anger and negative attitude towards the new workforce cannot help in any way. I should understand that I was a new nurse at some point. At that time, I did not do everything perfectly but overtime I was able to familiarize with my job environment and improve on my skills and the general attitude towards my job. Therefore, the most important thing that I can do in a different manner is to support the new nurses by giving them not only guidance but also the hope that they are going to be in a position to cope with the challenges in their nursing careers. In addition, I need to remind them not to forget to do some of their tasks. In this way, they are aware that they have to do all the responsibilities that are granted to them. In this case, where new nurses fail to administer some of the essential services like chemotherapy, there should mandatory staffing ratios that ensure that every new nurse is in the company of a more experienced nurse. In this way, the new nurses can easily improve their skills as well as the quality of work that they extend to the patients (Baer, 2002, p.47).
Looking at the phenomena whereby experienced nurses all call in at the same time, this is a very sensitive problem. This is because the staffs that is left behind to handle patients’ needs lacks the experience and at the sometime cannot be able to extend some of the important services like chemotherapy to patients in that most of them are not certified. This makes it risky to the operations of the oncology unit in that inexperienced nurses are sometimes unable to adequately respond to emergencies or some personal needs of some patients(Bamford, 2005, p.31).Leaving work in the hands of inexperienced nurses instils a feeling of fear and compassion in me. I often feel scared that patients' life that could be saved through better skills are sometimes lost in that some of the inexperienced and unqualified nurses cannot be able to give emergency response services like chemotherapy or even address to the symptoms of preventable diseases adequately. Being scared and feeling compassion towards patients who are in the hands of inexperienced nurses cannot solve the problem. I should therefore not be scared but should be more helpful to the inexperienced nurses. I can achieve this by making them known to them that it is important that they report any emergencies to experienced personnel so that the emergencies can be addressed appropriately and timely. In this case, mandatory staffing ratios can be helpful by making sure that certified and qualified nurses do not leave the job at the same time. This ensures that there are enough qualified nurses to handle emergencies as well as administer important services like chemotherapy at all times.
Finally, the shortage of certified nurses in the workforce is a great problem. This makes me feel that the quality of the services that are extended to the patient is relatively low. This is de-motivating in my part at times but this notion that the quality of services is poor is something that I really need to look at differently. I should strive to give my best so as to make sure that I give quality work. In addition, I should try to help some of the nurses that are certified to perform some tasks. In this way they can learn how to do things and in the long run they can end up being certified. Training un-certified nurses can be a positive move towards increasing the number of certified nurses in the institution. Mandatory staffing in this case can be helpful in that it can ensure that the institution has a given minimum of certified nurses so as to avoid shortage of qualified staff. This might mean that the institution has to offer better incentives to be able to keep its qualified staff for the longest time possible.
In conclusion, staffing problems within a nursing institution can hamper the regular activities of an institution but a positive mind in the part of the existing staff is important in solving the situation. In addition, a good relationship between the staff members in that it helps them support each other towards giving their best to the nursing institution. In conclusion, the institution should strive towards keeping its qualified staff by offering better incentives to convince them to stay.
Baer, E. D. (2002). Enduring issues in American nursing. New York: Springer
Bamford, P., A. (2005). Nursing assessment: a multidimensional approach. New
York: Jones and Bartlett Inc.
Saleh, A. M. (2008). The effect of nurse staffing on selected outcomes of care.
Milwaukee: The University of Wisconsin Press.