The practice of patient-centered care has led to empowerment of patients and teamwork amongst medical practitioners. This has been of great importance towards the achievement of high quality health results. Every other year, several registered nurses retire from work while thousands of young nurses fresh from nursing institutions are sent into the market. the rate of retirement, however, is not proportional to the rate of employment. This has created an imbalance at work leading to nursing shortage. The demand for more nurses has hit the entire world in equal proportions. The United States, for instance, has experienced the demand and measures have been put in place to ensure that more nurses are trained and employed. The demand, however, is not widespread throughout the country. Some states have been affected more than others. The rural hospitals have experienced more impact on the same as compared to the urban ones whose proximity to nursing schools is an added advantage.
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Shortage of nurses has become one of the greatest situation hindering proper delivery of healthcare services to patients through patient-centered care approach.
There are a number of causes of shortages in the field of nursing. These causes are similar in most parts of the world. Some of them are;
· Aging population is one major cause of shortages of nurses in America. Among the large population of aging citizens are the many registered nurses who are retiring from work and therefore requiring replacement. Technological advancements in the healthcare sector has led to termination or management of many diseases which were a threat to survival. The result has been the increase in the life expectancy of the Americans. These people require better medical attention.
· The lack of education facilities to train new nurses is one major factor straining the nursing labor force. Several schools were turned away by the United States due to insufficient facilities, funding and classroom space to facilitate training. This is according to a report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) (Information, Sheets & Shortage, 2020).
Some of the major effects of nursing shortage include;
· The increase in the nurse-to-patient ratio occurs as a result of short-staffing. This has adverse effects on the quality of services that a professional nurse can offer. It eventually leads to nursing burnout. This is a situation that has caused many nurses to leave the profession.
· Reports have shown that patients that are attended to in environments where nurses are overworked are more likely to get readmitted a month after discharge. These patients are more likely to get secondary infections acquired in the hospitals. On the other hand, adequate nursing professionals have been linked to low mortality rates, fewer failures in case of rescue missions, lower rates of secondary infections and shorter stays at the hospital wards.
A master’s prepared nurse is one trained in advanced clinical and non-clinical procedures and whose role is to ensure high quality and affordable healthcare accessibility. There is a dire need to address patient-centered care in order to improve service delivery. This has been made difficult by the rise in nursing shortages. The Lippitt model of change proposed to support the practices of patient-centered care and ways of improving it ('US Nursing Shortage & Healthcare impact: Managing an aging population', 2020.
The Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) supports patient-centered care. There is, however, a major challenge in the coordination of patient care towards the achievement of the desired outcomes of health. Medical practitioners that are sensitized to focus on patient-centered care are perhaps few or lack adequate experience in patient care delivery. It is necessary to put more emphasis on health promotion and provision of patient-centered care. Various nurse leaders have been at the forefront in the provision of care whereby they work closely with other healthcare workers.
The lippitt’s model is especially of great importance in the implementation of changes and involves four elements in the facilitation of the change process in the field of nursing. The urgency and source of the changes determine the need for it. The first element towards change is the assessment of the situation. This is necessary in the process of evaluation. Assessment is followed by planning where a nurse cooperates with the patient, the medical team and the family member of the patient to determine the needs and concerns of the patient. The next stage in the change process entails the implementation of the care practices that are centered to the patient. The final stage is the evaluation of the process of nursing in order to determine whatever has been achieved after the procedure.
To ensure the presence of improved safety initiatives when dealing with patients, the whole issue is highlighted while drawing attention to the deficiencies in the process of addressing the patient safety. People are known to be resistant to change especially when it is imposed on them and when they are not involved in the process of making the changes. Health workers understand the importance of patient safety. There is, however, a gap as far as nursing practice and its effect on the change agents is concerned. The leadership in the hospital has to be informed on the intended changes. Leaders are more likely to support the idea of patient-centered care. Consistency in the support of patient-centered care will be crucial to the success of the changes in the environment with open communication. Open communication has been seen to assist in improving mutual trust among the health workers and between the patients and the medical practitioners. The stakeholders are involved in the review of the merits and demerits of integration of the changes (Epstein and Street, 2020).
The master’s prepared nurse can the change agent as a leader of a team of professional medical care professionals. They have an opportunity to advance in terms of measures of quality improvement that lead to the improvement of patient-centered and health outcomes. Nursing shortage is one practice that undermines the patient-centered kind of practice. This is because of the large nurse-to-patient ratio. As experienced medical personnel, a master’s prepared nurse has the ability to make policies and get them implemented for the betterment of the institution (Jo Delaney, 2020).
Leadership helps in the maximization of the efficiency of any organization to achieve the goals of the organization. Leadership acts as the light in guiding any company in facilitation of its progress. Leaders guide the rest of the junior employees on the direction to take. A master’s prepared nurse does this by communicating the policies of the organization to the supporting nurses and makes them understand it. Apart from communicating, a good leader goes a step ahead to ensure that the subordinate nurses understand the policies (Maryville Online, 2020).
Nursing shortage has been addressed widely. Many people have come to conclusion that the many nurses graduating from nursing schools should be given the opportunity to practice their careers. Healthcare organizations have come up with short term solutions to the situation in order to curb burnout. Several other ideas have been put in place by different people with the aim of eliminating the shortage in order to make the patient-centered care a success.
- Epstein, R. and Street, R. (2020). The Values and Value of Patient-Centered Care.
- Maryville Online. (2020). A Nurse’s Role in Patient-Centered Care. [online] Available at: https://online.maryville.edu/blog/patient-centered-care-in-2017-a-guide-for-nurses/ [Accessed 11 Feb. 2020].
- Jo Delaney, L. (2020). Patient-centred care as an approach to improving health care in Australia.
- US Nursing Shortage & Healthcare impact: Managing an aging population. (2020). Retrieved 11 February 2020, from https://scallywagandvagabond.com/2019/05/us-nursing-shortage-healthcare-aging-population/
- Information, N., Sheets, F., & Shortage, N. (2020). Nursing Shortage. Retrieved 11 February 2020, from https://www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/Fact-Sheets/Nursing-Shortage