In medical facilities, the challenge of staffing is a daily concern. Staffing the proper number of nurses each day is crucial. If you have too many, you increase costs and lower your profit margins. If you have too little, you risk patient safety and increase the likelihood of nurse burnout. So, what is the solution to having the right number of nurses on staff each day?
The nurse staffing ratio can be a challenging balancing act. On the one hand, you must slash costs and boost profit margins. On the other hand, you must maintain patient safety and quality of care. Adequate nurse-patient ratios reduce infections and shorten the length of hospital stays. Patient safety improves as the number of prescription errors reduces. The correct amount of nurses reduces patient care costs, as nurses have time to provide patient education, instruct them on their medications, and identify the need for further care. Having the correct number of nurses on staff each day is vital to the quality of patient care.
When nurses have less patients to care for at any given time, they show high levels of job satisfaction. When these numbers increase without support, nurses feel as though they can’t meet unreasonable expectations. It is common for nurses to experience nurse burnout as a result of these expectations, and nurses have strained relationships and a hard time providing quality patient care.
A Fluctuating Workload
The patient care workload fluctuates, requiring ongoing assessment and planning to ensure the correct number of qualified nurses are available to meet the needs of the patients. Staffing typically depends on the average daily census and the usual patient acuity. Adjustments to the staffing levels are made based on the needs of the patients. How do you handle employee vacations, sick leave and those last-minute call-outs that challenge you to find replacement staff quickly?
Start by creating a formal staffing plan. The staffing plan ensures that each patient receives care by the nurse with the most appropriate skills. If you are losing staff, consider limiting mandatory overtime, delegating paperwork to other staff, using technology to improve workflow, and offering compensation commensurate with experience. A staffing committee can help your facility take a collaborative approach to staff levels. Another exceptional option is the use of a staffing agency.
A Health Care Staffing Agency
A health care staffing agency such as Power Personnel can give you the flexibility you need when you are shorthanded. Because a patient census can expand rapidly, or a regular staff nurse can become ill unexpectedly, a relationship with a staffing agency makes sense. The professionals at Power Personnel can help you with preventing nurse burnout resulting from over-committing staff due to low staffing levels. Patient safety and quality of care improve when you maintain adequate staff levels. Contact Power Personnel today to see how they can help your organization have the right number of nurses each day.