Having an appropriate nurse-patient ratio is very critical in healthcare. This results in improved outcomes, fewer complications, and a reduction in readmissions. Optimal staffing means high-quality care for all patients as the staff can provide the best care possible and ensures that the patients get maximum value from RNs. Understaffing has adverse outcomes for the patient and the overall performance of the staff. Nursing managers and leaders play a vital role in delegating authority and influencing the development of teams to grasp and execute the shared vision of optimum nurse staffing.
The staffing ratio in Texas is different from that in the US. Nurse -to- patient ratio in Texas is 4:1. Nurses in Texas are usually overworked with few resting hours (Sessom, 2016). However, In the US, most States are responsible for setting their staffing standards. Fourteen States have passed some forms indicating safe staffing laws. However, only California has legally defined the standard nurse-to-patient ratio for a different unit (Kluwer, 2016). In the critical care unit, the ratio is 1:2 or fewer at all times; in the emergency department, the ratio is 1:4 or fewer at all times that patients are receiving treatment (Kluwer, 2016). The other States are only required to include a general plan to manage the ratio instead of regulating it.
Nurse staffing contributes to the overall outcome of patient care. The nurse-to-patient ratio in Texas requires the nurses to work for long, long hours with few resting hours, thus leading to exhaustion and instability (ANA, 2022). Besides this, studies show an increase in medical errors by 87.5%, thus endangering their patient life (Sessom, 2016). Due to this ratio, staff in medical facilities have fewer chances to communicate among themselves, thus increasing the medical error rate. Patients are left without care and are inclined to do the thing themselves and, in their delicate state, could fall, causing more harm (Sessom, 2016). Besides, the nurse becomes tired, which may affect the timely administration of medicine to their patients, thus prolonging the diseases. This is different in the US, appropriate nurse staffing in the US has contributed to improved patient outcomes ad greater satisfaction for both patients and staff (ANA, 2022). The care provided is evidence-based as staffs are able to communicate, thus decreasing medical errors. Studies show that patients who seek care in these facilities were more satisfied, resulting in positive outcomes (ANA, 2022). Therefore there is a need to lower the nurse-to-patient ratio to increase satisfaction and positive outcomes.
Professional standards are set to ensure that the highest quality nursing care is fostered. Nursing practices should reflect ethical standards that every nurse should uphold. Patient care requires more than just the application of scientific knowledge (Indeed, 2021). Therefore, a nurse is required to think critically, solve problems, and come up with the best solution for the patient’s needs. Besides, nurses are required to assist their patients in maintaining, regaining, and improving their health. Critical thinking requires using scientifically and practices-based methods to make proper and more sound clinical judgments (Indeed, 2021). The criteria used should be evidence-based and adhere to the standards developed by clinical experts and quality improvement.
Both nurse leaders and nurse managers play an important role in ensuring high-quality care is provided to the patients. Although their roles may seem similar in some ways, nursing managers defer from the nursing leader (Indeed, 2021). The managers see through day-to-day operations in all nursing units and supervise the departmental staff, ensuring they run as efficiently as possible. The nurse managers are responsible for creating budgets for their departments, hiring staff members, ensuring ERs are up-to-date, and interacting with stakeholders. If the staffing is inadequate, the nursing manager may perform some action to handle the situation (Indeed, 2021). This includes calling the staff on and offering overtime pay, reallocating staff, or employing staff from an agency. Nurse managers need to work with other managers and come together when a difficult situation arises between the healthcare professionals and their patients..
On the other hand, the nurse leaders supervise the nursing team and ensure the overall success of the entire hospital as a whole. The focus is on ensuring that individual patients receive quality care. Some of the responsibilities of a nurse leader include overseeing nursing teams and working with them to improve patient care (Indeed, 2021). The leaders are expected to ensure proper care is provided to their patients to reduce hospital stay and lower the risk of readmission and healthcare cost. Besides, they are responsible for lowering turnover rates among nurses at the facility (Phelps, 2019). To solve staffing and reduce turnover, the nurse leaders should ensure critical practices such as motivation, employee productivity, and compensation are given to the staff. Motivating the staff will increase commitment and improvement of performance which is a direct result of motivation. Leaders use compensation initiatives to reduce turnover of staff and also to obtain qualified applicants. Improved relationships between the staff and their nursing leaders increase work productivity (Phelps, 2019). Therefore in addressing staffing issues, managers have delegated authority. At the same time, the leaders are tasked with influencing the development of teams to grasp and execute the shared vision of optimum nurse staffing.
To address the issue of staffing, managers and leaders should use several strategies such as offering leader support, organizational commitment, Training and advancement, Manager-nurse relationship, and recruitment. Leaders should support their staff to reduce employee stress by providing feedback to them and giving continued guidance. Leaders and managers should engage their staff to increase staff commitment within the facility (Phelps, 2019). The managers and leaders should form partnerships with the staff to ensure training opportunities are in place to add more knowledge on handling different situations and motivate them, thus contributing to a high nurse turnover. Stong relationships should promote between the management and nursing staff, thus increasing the communication level with the employees, thus resulting in to increase in staff productivity and retention (Phelps, 2019). Finally, managers can reduce the issue of understaffing by recruiting talented individuals that are fit for the facility. In addition, leaders should mentor their staff, thus increasing their talent and increasing productivity (Phelps, 2019). This strategy ensures professionalism throughout the healthcare setting and addresses nurse staffing.
The leadership style to be used to solve understaffing in healthcare facilities includes, Directing, Coaching, Supporting, and Delegating. Directing means giving clear direction to the staff, so they are aware of what is expected of them. Coaching includes selling their ideas and vision to the staff and all those involved in bringing it to fruition (Leighton, 2021). Supporting includes working together with the time through sharing ideas, suggestions, and solutions within the group. All the staff is included making them feel they contribute to the decision-making process (Leighton, 2021). Delegation is a style used when leading a team of senior leaders or managers because they require little direction and support; thus, the leader can give full authority to their team to make the final decisions (Leighton, 2021). Therefore, using these styles, each individual is given a different level of authority to contribute during decision-making, depending on the nature of the task at hand.
In conclusion, nurse staffing contributes to the overall outcome of patient care. Nurse leaders and nurse managers play an important role in ensuring high-quality care is provided to the patients. The managers see through day-to-day operations in all nursing units and supervise the departmental staff, ensuring they run as efficiently as possible. Nursing leaders supervise the nursing team and ensure the overall success of the entire hospital. To address the issue of staffing, managers, and leaders should work together to try and maintain optimum staffing in healthcare facilities.
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Kluwer, W. (2016). The importance of the optimal nurse-to-patient ratio. wolters kluwer. Retrieved 21 April 2022, from https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/expert-insights/the-importance-of-the-optimal-nursetopatient-ratio#.
Leighton, B. (2021). Leadership styles: Four common types in business | MasterStart. MasterStart. Retrieved 21 April 2022, from https://masterstart.com/business/the-four-styles-of-leadership-and-when-to-adopt-them-2/.
Phelps, J. (2019). Health Care Leaders’ Strategies to Reduce Nursing Turnover. Scholarworks.waldenu.edu. Retrieved 21 April 2022, from https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=8603&context=dissertations.
Sessom, A. (2016). Boost nurse-to-patient ratio. Gosanangelo.com. Retrieved 21 April 2022, from https://www.gosanangelo.com/story/opinion/readers/2016/11/04/boost-nurse–patient-ratio/93253112/.