Assignment: developing organizational policies and practices
Competing Needs Impacting the Healthcare Issue/Stressor The selected healthcare issue is the shortage of nurses in healthcare facilities. One competing need that affects this issue is the need to provide quality care to patients, while the other is the need to reduce healthcare costs. The shortage of nurses often leads to increased workloads for the available nurses, which can compromise the quality of care provided to patients. This is because overworked nurses are more likely to make errors, which can result in adverse patient outcomes. On the other hand, healthcare facilities also need to manage costs and reduce expenses to remain financially stable. Therefore, they may be reluctant to hire additional nurses, which could strain their budgets and profitability.
Relevant Policy or Practice in the Organization The policy that could impact the shortage of nurses in healthcare facilities is the staffing policy. The policy sets out the minimum nurse-to-patient ratio that healthcare facilities must maintain. This policy is relevant because it ensures that healthcare facilities have enough nurses to provide adequate care to patients. However, the policy is limited in that it does not provide for flexibility to address fluctuations in patient volumes or the complexity of patient care needs.
Critique of the Policy for Ethical Considerations The staffing policy is ethical in that it seeks to ensure that patients receive safe and adequate care. However, the policy’s inflexibility can lead to nurses being overworked, which is unethical. Nurses are expected to provide care to patients without compromising their safety and well-being. Therefore, the policy should be revised to ensure that it provides for flexibility in staffing levels to address variations in patient care needs.
Recommendations for Policy or Practice Changes To balance the competing needs of resources, workers, and patients while addressing the ethical shortcomings of the existing policies, the healthcare facility should consider implementing the following changes:
- Implementing flexible staffing models – Healthcare facilities should implement flexible staffing models that allow for adjustments in nurse-to-patient ratios to address variations in patient volumes and the complexity of patient care needs. This will ensure that nurses are not overworked, and patient care needs are adequately addressed.
- Providing incentives for nurses – Healthcare facilities should provide incentives for nurses to encourage them to stay with the facility. This could include offering competitive salaries, career development opportunities, and better work-life balance.
Evidence-Based Support for Policy or Practice Changes The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has recommended that healthcare facilities maintain an appropriate nurse-to-patient ratio to ensure that patients receive quality care. Research has also shown that nurse staffing levels affect patient outcomes, such as mortality rates and hospital-acquired infections. For instance, a study by Aiken et al. (2014) found that a higher nurse-to-patient ratio was associated with lower mortality rates and shorter hospital stays. Another study by Kane et al. (2007) found that better staffing levels were associated with a lower risk of hospital-acquired infections.
In conclusion, the shortage of nurses in healthcare facilities presents several competing needs, including the need to provide quality care to patients and the need to manage healthcare costs. While the staffing policy seeks to address the shortage, it may not be adequate in ensuring that nurses are not overworked. Therefore, healthcare facilities should implement flexible staffing models and provide incentives for nurses to ensure that patient care needs are met, and nurses’ well-being is considered. The recommendations are supported by evidence from the IOM and previous research.