A National Healthcare Stressor Nurse Shortage

Assignment: Analysis of a Pertinent Healthcare Issue
The Quadruple Aim provides broad categories of goals to pursue to maintain and improve healthcare. Within each goal are many issues that, if addressed successfully, may have a positive impact on outcomes. For example, healthcare leaders are being tasked to shift from an emphasis on disease management often provided in an acute care setting to health promotion and disease prevention delivered in primary care settings. Efforts in this area can have significant positive impacts by reducing the need for primary healthcare and by reducing the stress on the healthcare system.  A National Healthcare Stressor Nurse Shortage

Changes in the industry only serve to stress what has always been true; namely, that the healthcare field has always faced significant challenges, and that goals to improve healthcare will always involve multiple stakeholders. This should not seem surprising given the circumstances. Indeed, when a growing population needs care, there are factors involved such as the demands of providing that care and the rising costs associated with healthcare. Generally, it is not surprising that the field of healthcare is an industry facing multifaceted issues that evolve over time.

In this module’s Discussion, you reviewed some healthcare issues/stressors and selected one for further review. For this Assignment, you will consider in more detail the healthcare issue/stressor you selected. You will also review research that addresses the issue/stressor and write a white paper to your organization’s leadership that addresses the issue/stressor you selected. A National Healthcare Stressor Nurse Shortage

To Prepare:

Review the national healthcare issues/stressors presented in the Resources and reflect on the national healthcare issue/stressor you selected for study.
Reflect on the feedback you received from your colleagues on your Discussion post for the national healthcare issue/stressor you selected.
Identify and review two additional scholarly resources (not included in the Resources for this module) that focus on change strategies implemented by healthcare organizations to address your selected national healthcare issue/stressor.
The Assignment (2-3 Pages):

Analysis of a Pertinent Healthcare Issue (TOPIC: THE NURSING SHORTAGE)

Develop a 2 to 3 page paper, written to your organization’s leadership team, addressing your selected national healthcare issue/stressor and how it is impacting your work setting. Be sure to address the following:

Describe the national healthcare issue/stressor you selected and its impact on your organization (I work in a peritoneal dialysis unit). Use organizational data to quantify the impact (if necessary, seek assistance from leadership or appropriate stakeholders in your organization).
Provide a brief summary of the two articles you reviewed from outside resources on the national healthcare issue/stressor. Explain how the healthcare issue/stressor is being addressed in other organizations.
Summarize the strategies used to address the organizational impact of national healthcare issues/stressors presented in the scholarly resources you selected. Explain how they may impact your organization both positively and negatively. Be specific and provide examples.

A National Healthcare Stressor: Nurse Shortage

One of the most important contemporary national healthcare challenges is the shortfall in the number of nurses in healthcare facilities across the United States. This important healthcare issue affects many healthcare institutions in the United States and around the world. In most situations, a lack of an attractive remuneration package and incentives for professional development are major contributing factors (Palumbo et al., 2017; Wise, 2018). In some cases, the high turnover intention is due to a lack of psychological safety and victimization in the workplace. Burnout as a result of excessively hard workloads is a common reason for leaving. The purpose of this paper is to look at nursing shortage as a pertinent national healthcare stressor of concern and its implications to the organization.


The Healthcare Stressor of Interest

Nurse shortage occurs when the turnover intention is high and the rate of exit surpasses that at which the organization recruits new employees. When there are not enough nurses, there is bound to be burnout among the few remaining employees (Jacobs et al., 2018). A nurse suffering burnout is dangerous because they are prone to committing errors. As an organization, this is a risk that may be avoided by simply employing enough nurses. Errors may lead to the occurrence of sentinel (never) events. These could result in lawsuits for the Tort of Negligence. Proper risk management is therefore important for all healthcare organizations with regard to nurse shortage (Day-Calder, 2017; Pittman & Scully-Russ, 2016). It is in the best interest f the organization to therefore have the recommended nurse-patient ratio at all times.  A National Healthcare Stressor Nurse Shortage

The Impact of Nurse Shortage on the Organization

Nurse shortage has a great impact on my organization. I work in a center that offers the services of peritoneal dialysis to kidney failure patients as renal replacement therapy or RRT. In the recent past the organization lost a number of senior and experiences nurses leaving a huge void. Despite the best efforts of the human resources department, finding acceptable nursing employees with the appropriate qualifications, expertise, and skill levels to substitute those employees has been difficult. As a result, the remaining nurses are starting to feel overworked, which is resulting in bad morale. Replacing competent nurses who depart for a variety of reasons has been acknowledged as a challenging task.

Two Articles on the Nurse Shortage Crisis

In the study by Combes et al. (2018), the shortage of nursing staff may have been due to the organization’s lack of competitive remuneration (Palumbo et al., 2017). They investigated the role of assistant nurses (ANs) and registered nurses (RNs) working in hospitals in England between 2003 and 2005. They found that by boosting registered nurse pay attractiveness by 10%, the shortfall of both RNs and ANs was reduced by 0.6 percent for RNs and 0.4 percent for ANs.

When four oncology nurses left the hospital and two others went on maternity leave, the treatment of cancer patients at the King George Hospital Cedar Centre in the United Kingdom had to be interrupted, according to Wise (2018). Because the cancer center’s oncology nurses were in short supply due to the absence of these six, they were forced to do so. This is probably the worst case scenario when there is a biting and serious nurse shortage. Shutting down an entire cancer unit has very negative outcomes for the patients and the organization.

Summary of Strategies to Mitigate the Organizational Impact of Nurse Shortage

One of the strategies is to pay nurses fairly, participate in staff development programs, establish a positive working environment through transformational nursing leadership, and take a bottom-up approach to nursing management (Wise, 2018; Combes et al., 2018; Day-Calder, 2017). The other strategy, and a highly successful one at that, is legislation. In 2015, Congress passed the National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act. The goal of this measure was to set minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in all hospitals, protect nurses’ advocacy duties, and make mandatory investment in nurse training and retraining a legal requirement. As a result, the bill’s goal was to increase patient safety and make high-quality healthcare more accessible. A National Healthcare Stressor Nurse Shortage


Nurse shortage is a serious and very significant healthcare issue at a national level. This is because the impact on individual organizations and the healthcare sector as a whole is far-reaching. The first casualty when there is a significant turnover of nurses within an organization is the quality of services. This is simply because the remaining nurses get overburdened and overwhelmed and so they start making mistakes and committing errors that pose a serious threat to patient safety.  


Combes, J-B., Elliott, R.F. & Skåtun, D. (2018): Hospital staff shortage: The role of the competitiveness of pay of different groups of nursing staff on staff shortage. Applied Economics. https://doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2018.1490000

Day-Calder, M. (2017). How to cope with staff shortages. Nursing Standard, 31(19). http://dx.doi.org/10.7748/ns.31.19.37.s40

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. https://doi.org/10.1097/NAQ.0000000000000303

Palumbo, M.V., Rambur, B., & Hart, V. (2017). Is health care payment reform impacting nurses’ work settings, roles, and education preparation? Journal of Professional Nursing, 33, 400-404. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.profnurs.2016.11.005

Pittman, P., & Scully-Russ, E. (2016). Workforce planning and development in times of delivery system transformation. Human Resources for Health, 14(56), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12960-016-0154-3

Wise, J. (2018). Hospital suspends chemotherapy because of nurse shortage. BMJ. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4687

A National Healthcare Stressor Nurse Shortage

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