"RN Solutions to the Nursing Care Crisis
~THE GROWING SHORTAGE OF NURSES AT THE BEDSIDE~
Health care employers are reporting difficulties in recruiting and retaining registered nurse and other health care staff.
Nurses are reporting that they are assigned too many patients to deliver optimal nursing care and adequately supervise support staff.
Patients are hiring sitters to assist them in hospitals with short-handed and overworked staff.
The public is becoming aware of short staffing in hospitals, nursing homes, home care, schools, correctional institutions, assisted living facilities, and every other health care delivery environment. Its sounding like a crisis, and, if not addressed properly, it will be a public health disaster.
REASONS FOR THE IMMEDIATE CRISIS ~
The current shortage of nurses in direct care was manufactured by healthcare employers who systematically downsized nurse staffing over the past ten years. During widespread restructuring in the mid-1990s, employers forced experienced and highly paid nurses out of the workplace through layoffs, early retirement buy-outs, and attrition. In an effort to compete for managed care contracts, they focused on the bottom line without assessing the
impact on patient care.
If employers expected that there would be new graduates to fill these positions, they
were wrong. As word spread about downsizing of nursing staff, nursing school enrollments dropped precipitously.
In addition, working conditions worsened for the nurses who remained on staff, forcing many frustrated and exhausted RNs to leave direct care. In the current crisis in direct care, employers indeed find it difficult to recruit and retain nurse staff a situation attributable to the intolerable working environment they created.
HOW TO BUILD THE NURSING WORKFORCE ~
#1 Improve workplace conditions and..........."