Nursing and Physician Shortage

Nursing and Physician Shortage and Related Stress within the Healthcare System

Nursing and physician shortage is one of the healthcare issue/stressors affecting the United States. According to the “American Association of Colleges of Nursing,” the US require over 200,000 registered nurse annually through 2026. The issue is exacerbated by population and aging. The increasing number of older people in the country exert pressure on medical resources. The aging nurses and doctors significantly affect medical practitioners’ supply, which could prove troublesome to healthcare services (Lyu & Wehby, 2020), as hospitals struggle to manage the clinical demands.

The nursing and physician shortage causes stress in the healthcare workplace, leading to higher errors, morbidity, and mortality. Healthcare organizations with high patient-nurse ratios are characterized by nurses experiencing stress, burnout, and dissatisfaction, and the patients experience higher failure-to-rescue and mortality rates than their lower patient-to-nurse ratios. A healthy work setting is where employees and administrators collaborate and adopt continuous improvement approaches to promote the safety, health, and well-being of the workplace’s workforce and sustainability.  However, this seems unachievable in the current healthcare working environment, as the working condition becomes increasingly demanding and stressful, coupled with constrained resources (Jacobs, McGovern, Heinmiller, and Drenkard, 2018). As the aging population surges and the patient paper size rises coupled with primary care physicians, it is becoming challenging for primary care physicians to deliver all the necessary care.

How My Health System Work Setting Has Responded To the Nursing and Physician Shortage

The organization, including my health system work setting, is adopting diverse strategies to respond to stress within the healthcare systems caused by physicians’ acute shortage and increase demand for medical services. One of the techniques commonly adopted is the same patient’s co-management, an emerging practice within the healthcare systems. The provider co-management is where two or more primary care physicians share care management responsibilities for similar patients. Research shows that successful co-management can alleviate workforce stress within the healthcare setting caused by a high workload, avoid burnout, increase access to health care and improve patient care quality (Norful et al., 2018). If adequately implemented, provider co-management is an essential tool for enhancing workforce stress in healthcare settings.

However, in most cases, the regulatory barriers hinder the ability of nurse practitioners to practice independently or with the same resources as PCPs. Outdated healthcare system bylaws, physicians’ and administrators’ obliviousness of the nurse practitioners’ competencies, inadequate knowledge of the law, and physician are barriers to co-management. Collegial relationships between nurse practitioners and physicians and the positive perception of the regulations and laws help break some of the relationship barriers between NPs and physicians in healthcare settings. For instance, the New York State adopted the Nurse Practitioners Modernization Act of 2015, removing the obstacles such as written practice agreement between the nurse practitioners (NPs) not less than 3,600 hours of practice experience and the physicians (Poghosyan, Norful & Laugesen, 2018). If effectively implemented, the law will widen the nurse practitioner’s scope of practice and enhance their autonomy while providing medical care, hence assisting in addressing the physician shortage and improving provider co-management between NPs and physicians.

This paper has explored nursing and physician shortage and related stress within the healthcare system. The US healthcare organizations are experiencing stress caused by the increase in population and the older adults and aging doctors and nurses. The factors increase demands of medical care, hence straining the resources and workforce. Provider co-management alongside removing barriers NPS autonomy are some of the strategies and policies to curb the challenge.

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Jacobs, B., McGovern, J., Heinmiller, J., & Drenkard, K. (2018). Engaging employees in well-being: Moving from the Triple Aim to the Quadruple Aim. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 42(3), 231-245.

Lyu, W., & Wehby, G. L. (2020). Community Use of Face Masks and COVID-19: Evidence from a Natural Experiment of State Mandates in the US: Study examines impact on COVID-19 growth rates associated with state government mandates requiring face mask use in public. Health affairs, 39(8), 1419-1425.

Norful, A.A., de Jacq, K., Carlino, r., & Poghosyan, L. (2018). Nurse practitioner-physician co-management: A theoretical model to alleviate primary care strain. Annals of Family Medicine, 16(3), 250-256.

Poghosyan, L., Norful, A., & Laugesen, M. (2018). Removing restrictions on nurse practitioners’ scope of practice in New York State: Physicians’ and nurse practitioners’ perspectives. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 30(6), 354-360.