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Strategies for Addressing the Evolving Nursing Crisis

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Abstract:

Background: The shortage of registered nurses, which is already having ill effects on the U. S. health care delivery system, is burgeoning at a time when patient acuity is high, care is complex, and demand for services often exceeds capacity. This is a prescription for danger.

Create a culture of retention: Some hospitals fare better in recruiting and retaining nurses than others. Top-level managers who provide nurses with delegated authority, adequate staffing, competitive compensation, and a collaborative culture have a built-in resistance to cyclical nursing shortages—-theirs is too good a place to work to leave.

Bolster the nursing educational infrastructure: The shortage of nurses is mirrored by a corresponding shortage of nursing faculty. As nursing educator attrition continues, it is unclear where the future nursing school faculty will come from. Federal funding of nursing education is modest. Structured postgraduate training programs for nurses could provide an opportunity for skill building in real clinical settings.

Establish financial incentives for investing in nursing: Although there is clearly a business case for creating a culture of nursing staff retention—based on lower turnover, lower costs, higher profitability, and better outcomes—there is just as clear a need for the investment of new dollars in hospitals to establish a new base of response capacity. For hospitals to be truly able to invest in nursing and to resolve the problems that have led to the impending nurse staffing crisis, new federal monies specifically targeted for nursing need to be made available.

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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  • The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety will be published by Elsevier beginning in 2017! For readers who receive access to the journal through their institutions, the journal can now be found on ScienceDirect (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/15537250). For librarians looking to subscribe to the journal for their institutions please contact your Elsevier Account Manager or visit www.myelsevier.com for more information. All other readers, please visit http://www.jointcommissionjournal.com/ to subscribe to the journal or to claim your access for an existing subscription.
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