Updates on the Hospital Staffing Crisis 2023
Although the healthcare worker and nursing shortage have been a looming issue for decades now, with countless hospitals and facilities struggling to meet safe staffing standards due to inadequate staffing and improper worker-to-patient ratios, the hospital staffing crisis is yet again making news headlines already this year, which is incredibly promising for some hopefully long-awaited developments in the healthcare staffing crisis. Specifically, healthcare workers in Oregon and Washington continue their fight for new nursing and healthcare legislation to ensure that facilities can operate sufficiently without putting healthcare workers or patients in danger. This change is long overdue for the healthcare industry.
In a fight that is returning from 2022 with new and improved details to the legislation, the president of SEUI Healthcare 1199NW, leaders of UFCW 3000, and the Washington State Nurses Association are yet again coming together to reintroduce this legislation in 2023. This proposal will introduce strict ratios regarding the number of nurses on duty compared to the current number of patients in a facility. Additionally, this proposal would effectively end destructive policies such as mandatory overtime and ensure that healthcare workers get the meal and rest breaks they deserve. If this legislation is passed, among many other changes, facilities would be required to hire a sufficient number of workers, reducing the likelihood that workers would face burnout.
Similarly, healthcare workers and administrators in Oregon have been in a long-standing battle against unacceptable conditions in the healthcare workforce, detrimental to both nurses and patients in the state. The Oregon Nurses Association significantly has been raising plenty of concerns and speaking against these many issues, also highly advocating for a change that is years overdue. Communities in Oregon have also taken a stand in support of the healthcare workers and facilities struggling, hoping to make change more imminent. Just like the legislation Washington healthcare workers hope is enforced, if this bill in Oregon is passed, House Bill 2697, the Oregon Health Authority would be required to implement minimum staffing levels in facilities, allowing for more sustainable staff-to-patient ratios.
Nurses and healthcare workers have been struggling nationwide for decades. However, due to the surge of COVID-19, among many other newly developing healthcare challenges, it’s more apparent than ever that change is needed. Many nurses have reported wanting to leave the workforce, with large percentages already having done so. Additionally, for workers who do choose to stay in the workforce, many healthcare workers are exposed to unsafe working conditions, working incredibly long shifts without breaks. Leading to more and more nurses beginning to experience burnout which can be mentally and physically draining the more it is gone untreated.
How to Ensure Safe Staffing in Your Hospital or Facility
If you are part of hospital management or administration, you’ve already been exposed to healthcare challenges for far too long. At some points, there are no efficient solutions to ensuring safe staffing for your workers and facilities’ patients. However, you can always take precautions to lessen the damage your facility takes. Ways to ensure safe staffing could be creating a staffing plan to operate by, analyzing employee turnover, and combatting the causes that may make an employee leave the job. Additionally, consulting current staff and taking in their suggestions and input on current work conditions will always be incredibly helpful in showing you what changes to make and what should stay the same.
Many healthcare facilities and workers alike have also adopted a new method of healthcare staffing and shift finding. Turning to per diem workers is a fantastic way to locate temporary staffing options when your facility is in need. PRN is highly beneficial to facilities as these freelance healthcare workers can often pick up last-minute shifts, ensuring that your facility still has sufficient staffing in emergencies. Plus, with a PRN healthcare staffing app, healthcare administrators will have little to no worry about posting shifts for PRN workers to pick up.
The Importance of Nurse and Patient Safety
Within healthcare, nothing is more important than patient safety and the outcomes of patients; after all, the entire purpose of healthcare is to care for those in need and bring them to healing. However, just as much as patients, healthcare workers’ and nurses’ safety and well-being are also crucial and often overlooked. Countless studies prove that the well-being of nurses and healthcare workers directly translates to patient outcomes and the quality of care patients are given. Nurses are constantly running around doing various tasks, which can quickly lead to burnout or mistakes on the job, some of which could be harmful to themselves, their peers, or their patients. To ensure that healthcare facilities can provide quality care, healthcare workers must also receive the same concern and care that patients receive daily.