Why having a full nursing staff is crucial

Posted by Tim Teague on 9/22/17 12:43 PM

Topics: Health Care Staffing

The recent surge in newly insured patients has left many hospitals and health care organizations understaffed in their nursing departments. This has resulted in some organizations failing to deliver complete nursing care to patients.

Using robust medical staffing software, hospitals and health care organizations can streamline recruitment and onboarding of RNs and overcome the problems associated with low nursing staff.

Insufficient nurses lead to lower care quality

A recent study revealed that lower RN staffing inhibits a health care organization's ability to provide the necessary care patients require to adequately heal.

Federal Regulation 42CFR 482.239(b) mandates that health care organizations "have adequate numbers of licensed registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and other personnel to provide nursing care to all patients as needed. There must be supervisory and staff personnel for each department or nursing unit to ensure, when needed, the immediate availability of a registered nurse for bedside care of any patient." However, this opaque language leaves a lot of wriggle room from one organization to the next on what constitutes "adequate numbers" of nursing staff.

"The health care sector is experiencing a major nursing staffing shortage."

This ambiguity also increases the potential for hospitals and health care organizations to have an insufficient nursing staffing ratio. Currently, the health care sector is experiencing a major nursing staffing shortage. 

The American Nurses Association noted that, in addition to the lack of nurses, the average age of employed RNs has surged for nearly two years, reaching 44.6 years old in 2010 after only being 42.7 in 2000. As the average age continues to trend upward, it opens up this profession to mass waves of retirement in the coming years.

This makes it crucial that hospital systems and health care organizations have the means to effectively staff their nursing teams.

Staffing quandaries take a toll on nurses

Nurses have many important responsibilities in hospitals and health care organizations. Their duties cover a wide range of tasks, including:

  • Patient care.
  • Bedside and medication management.
  • Assistance with surgeries and other major operations.
  • Data collection and reporting.
  • Patient monitoring and assessment.
  • Performing immediate interventions when necessary.

These are all key components to delivering high-quality patient care in a cost-effective setting. However, when hospitals and health care organizations face insufficient nurse staffing, the workforce has less ability to effectively perform all of these vital responsibilities without getting overburdened, fatigued and, ultimately, burnt out.

Situations like this have consequences, as they lead to increases in:

  • Medications errors.
  • Length of stays.
  • Hospital readmissions.
  • Patient mortality.

As the quality of care declines, the costs of delivering it rises because of the need to provide more services for readmitted patients for a longer amount of time.

A low level of nursing staff can lead to fatigue, exhaustion and burnout.
A low level of nursing staff can lead to fatigue, exhaustion and burnout.

How medical staffing software can help

According to Nursing Education Success, appropriate nurse staffing not only boost clinical success, it also improves economic conditions for health care organizations. Optimal nursing staff levels allows hospitals and care providers to provide the best possible care for patients, while obtaining the maximum value from the current RNs.

Medical staffing software helps HR departments and recruiters easily find the right nursing candidates with the best certifications for open positions, and quickly place those individuals. A robust platform gives hospitals and health care organizations greater speed to market by automating orders, and allowing them to import and create jobs on their own, or through other third-party managed service providers. 

Further, medical staffing software streamlines staff time and attendance records, ensuring employees are paid immediately - a major differentiator in an environment where more agencies offer daily pay.

Click here to learn more about how BlueSky Medical Staffing Software can help keep nursing staff levels optimal. 

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BlueSky Medical Staffing Software is an applicant tracking system, vendor management system, staff/nurse scheduling system, and invoice/payroll tool combined into one suite for clinical talent and contingent labor management. BlueSky has been empowering the healthcare and hospital staffing industry for over twenty years by solving expensive operational problems in business and organizations.

BlueSky is the only staffing software available on the market today that is healthcare specific, accommodates full lifecycle recruitment, front-to-back-office workflows, medical credential management, vendor management, workflow automation, and more.

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