March 13, 2024

Healthcare in Crisis: The Growing Concern of Nurse Shortage

Health systems are dependent upon their health workers, who need to be well-trained and deployed strategically in areas most in need. The World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted a worldwide shortage of over 10 million healthcare workers by 2030, with most of this deficit found in poorer countries.

Consequently, medical staff shortages remain among the greatest challenges to healthcare systems globally.

Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system and play a crucial role in providing essential medical care to patients. However, despite their vital contributions and especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, reports suggest that many nurses are feeling increasingly dissatisfied with their careers. There are several reasons why this is the case, and it is crucial that these issues are addressed so that the nursing profession can attract and retain top talent.

Healthcare staff across the world are feeling the strain of high workloads and a lack of resources, and a recent survey from McKinsey & Company has highlighted just how serious the situation is. The survey, which tapped into frontline nurses to gauge their thoughts on staying in their current roles, showed that one-third of those in countries like the U.S., U.K., Singapore, Japan, France, and Australia indicated they were likely to leave in the next year. This staffing crisis could lead to reduced access to healthcare services and lower-quality care for patients.

What are some of the reasons for the nursing shortage?

According to the McKinsey survey, the reasons nurses are leaving the healthcare sector are varied. In the United States and Australia, numbers of nurses who anticipate leaving their roles have increased significantly since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, members of the Royal College of Nursing have taken to the streets for the first time in its 100-year history to express their dissatisfaction and demand fair pay and improved patient safety.

Even in Switzerland, which is routinely ranked as the leading healthcare system in the world, more than 300 nurses leave their jobs each month. Healthcare facilities worldwide are facing a severe staffing shortage, which only heightens the strain on those staff still employed in direct patient care positions.

"Nursing is walking out of the building several times a week crying or crying while they're [nurses] in the building trying to take care of more patients than they're able to … We don't want to offer poor care, and we do our best not to. But when you have the ratios nurses [are] facing now, there is no way to deliver the best health care that you want." Karen O'Donnell Fountain told Fox News. Karen is an ER Level 1 trauma nurse and manages 240 nurses deployed in NYC hospitals.

When talking to nurses you will find out that one of the most significant challenges they face, is the inability to provide adequate care to all their patients. When staffing levels are low, nurses are often forced to work long hours and care for a large number of patients at once. This can result in them feeling overwhelmed and unable to provide the level of attention and care that each patient deserves. Additionally, it can be difficult for nurses to take time to engage in ethical decision-making and provide care that aligns with their ethical obligations. Another concern for nurses is the impact that the shortage in staffing has on their own well-being. When faced with high levels of stress and demands, many nurses report feeling emotionally drained and experiencing job dissatisfaction.

In addition to nursing staff shortages and high workloads, nurses caring for patients with delirium also face other significant challenges, often resulting in negative experiences. Nurses report that they are often stressed and afraid when managing patients with delirium, both for their own safety and for the safety of the patient, and they frequently cite an inadequate knowledge of delirium.

Nursing is a noble and challenging profession that requires compassion, dedication, and a strong commitment to ethical principles. However, many nurses today feel that they are facing a significant challenge in carrying out their ethical obligations to patients due to high workloads and a shortage in staffing. All these factors are contributing to high levels of nurse burnout, which in turn, may affect the quality of care that they provide to patients, leading to a decline in the overall quality of care provided by the healthcare system.

PIPRA AG is an automated postoperative delirium risk prediction tool – what benefits might it provide in your healthcare setting?

According to recent research conducted by UiPath, “clinical automation” is the new paradigm for workforce resilience. Technological advances are required to ensure an effective continuum of care as society experiences ongoing healthcare staffing shortages and ever-increasing numbers of older adults. The PIPRA automated postoperative delirium risk prediction tool takes only a couple of minutes to generate a delirium risk score for elderly surgical patients. Nurses can then focus their attention on those patients with higher risk scores and implement relevant multicomponent interventions in those patients, to reduce the incidence of postoperative delirium. Ultimately, the introduction of PIPRA into the clinical care pathway can help to streamline processes, save nursing time and better focus resources, thereby improving both nursing and patient outcomes.