Impact of Nursing Shortages on Patient Care

Identification of Clinical Problem

This topic is highly relevant because nurses are essential to the normal functioning of the health care system. They constitute more than half of the entire medical staff and are on the front lines of disease control (Drennan & Ross, 2019). Nevertheless, a worldwide shortage of nursing staff could be a real disaster in the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that by 2023 there will be eight hundred thousand nursing jobs unfilled in the country (Drennan & Ross, 2019). An acute shortage of nurses exists in California, where a new law requires one nurse for every five patients. Therefore, there is a shortage of nurses working overtime; even the currently employed nurses struggle to provide adequate care to patients in the at-risk area (Drennan & Ross, 2019). This is because schedules, heavy workloads, and staffing shortages encourage them to quit, resulting in even more deficits that affect patient care.

Meanwhile, the problem primarily affects hospital patients, especially those who need constant care. Many issues are overlooked when nurses are concerned about five people at a time (Drennan & Ross, 2019). This contributes to increased medical errors, patient deaths, and the exacerbation of their illnesses. Simultaneously, when a hospital hires new nurses for lack of time, experienced staff cannot share their expertise (Drennan & Ross, 2019). Consequently, younger nurses are not performing their tasks, which further harms patients. Thus, reducing the number of nurses negatively affects patient outcomes.

PICOT Statement

Evidence-Based Solution

To decrease the workload of nurses, which will increase patient-centeredness and speed of recovery, it is imperative to enhance funding for the training of nurses. Moreover, it is essential to employ nurses after training. That way, hospitals will have experienced nurses who can provide quality patient care. Another way to have a positive impact on patient health is to invest in post-graduate nursing education. Accordingly, nurses will be motivated to work and will be promoted. This will ensure the popularity of the profession. Consequently, many patients with specific health problems, such as heart problems, will be treated by a nurse specializing in this area. Evidence has demonstrated that even volunteers who take private nursing courses can greatly assist hospitals in caring for patients. Simultaneously, increased pay, working conditions, and the empowerment of nurses will attract more individuals to the profession. Therefore, nurses will work a regular workday, resulting in their ability to concentrate on each patient. Accordingly, nurses will be more attentive to their needs and concerns. Hence, it will ensure that medical errors become the cause of death.


Hence, the shortage of nurses, which manifests itself in overwork, and insufficient and unqualified training, worsens the level of patient care and leads to the inability to obtain positive treatment results. Intervention by the American Nurses Association, state agencies providing rights and guarantees to health care workers, and educational institutions should improve the situation. Once these interventions are in place, nurses should be stabilized and have an improved work schedule, financial security, and quality of knowledge (Rosenberg, 2019). Correspondingly, this will enable them to avoid doctors’ mistakes and pay attention and care to each patient. Then nursing interventions will become more qualified, and the quality of patient care will enhance general medical practice.

Consequently, each patient will be capable of obtaining care from a narrow specialty nursing specialist. Therefore, it will enhance the condition of the patients and allow them to be under professional supervision. In the case of an expanded health condition, each patient will be offered emergency and quality care, promoting their health status (Rosenberg, 2019). More nurses need three years of training to implement the above strategy. This can be accomplished through free government programs and support.


Rosenberg, K. (2019). RN shortages negatively impact patient safety. AJN The American Journal of Nursing, 119(3), 51.

Drennan, V. M., & Ross, F. (2019). Global nurse shortages: The facts, the impact and action for change. British Medical Bulletin, 130(1), 25-37.

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