In recent weeks, nurses in various health systems in NYC have gone on strike to put pressure on their employers to listen to their concerns and offer solutions. Understandably, public concern is directed at patient outcomes: Who is taking care of the patients? Do patients receive substandard care during a strike? Why would nurses put their patients at risk like this? Those of us who do not know what it is like to work as a nurse can learn a lot by paying attention to not only what the nurses are saying, but also the statistics that back them up. The data tells us that when hospitals nurses are understaffed and underpaid, patients suffer. As a result, in some health systems, not making changes to nurse work environment (either through strike action or without) has worse patient outcomes.
Many healthcare concerns will follow us into the new year, some we have carried for decades and some that have become more threatening thanks to the COVID pandemic. Among all the many lists of top concerns, three remain consistent: Staffing shortages, capacity, and healthcare-associated infections. In today's post, we will reveal how reducing healthcare associated infections (HAIs) directly improves patient outcomes, but can can positively impact staffing and capacity as well.
We recently heard a chilling story: An ER doctor shared that he was treating many of his patients in the waiting room - diagnosing, providing medication, and discharging - not because there was no room in the hospital, but rather because there were not enough nurses. Indeed, there is a significant nursing shortage in the United States. Almost all of us are aware of this professional scarcity thanks to regular news coverage and even personal experience. What many laypeople may not be aware of, however, is that we have been in the midst of a significant nursing shortage not just since COVID-19, but since 2012. In today's post, we will uncover what kind of impact this shortage will have on one of the most critical aspects of hospital care: Infection control and prevention.
Nursing responsibilities have changed dramatically over the past decades. While some non-medical tasks have been shifted to other workers, additional administrative responsibilities have been added. As a result, nursing is among the top most stressful jobs in our country, made all the more challenging during the pandemic. What happens when nurses feel pressured by time constraints? What can be done to alleviate this pressure? We will look at options in today's post.