The Problem of Nurse Staffing

Nursing theory has played an important part in the advancement of nursing practice as a whole. Because of its effect and impact on the many nursing variables, nursing theory serves as the foundation of the nursing profession. The majority of concepts used in nursing have their origins and foundations in nursing philosophy. As a result, many clinical issues can be efficiently solved in an effort to put nursing theory into practice. It is based on the foundation of nursing theory that clear rules for the execution of various interventions in the field of nursing are developed. Nursing is theory is complex and falls in various fields like Nursing informatics, leadership and governance in nursing, nursing education among others. To ensure effective application of nursing theory, steps are put forward to ensure that the patient care services are enhanced and provided efficiently.

The impacts of theory in solving nursing practice issues are effectively cited out during the application of Watson's caring theory withemphasis on staffing of nurses (she, &Cavan, 2014).The theory of jean Watson is applicable in various fields of nursing. According to Watson, for proper practice of nursing there is need for proper and effective caring since it forms the centre of nursing practice. Caring practices are normally associated with considerationsin the patient’s various physical and spiritual needs. The practice of caring enables the nurse to effectively handle the necessities of the patients and provide a mechanism for provision of the relevant services the patients are in need of. Inaddition, caring theory assumes that nurses have the willingness and readiness to look after the patient population sinceit’s their mandate. It should be noted that the integration of the caring philosophy in the nursing practice, enables patients be provided with the exceptional presence. An improved caring relationship is relevant in creating a surrounding that encourages the promotion of good health (morrow, 2014)

To effectively assess the applicability of Jean Watson's caring theory in nursing we shall provide a detailed analysis concerning the theory in this paper. Various applications of the theory in handling staffing issues will also be analysed .Therefore, the main focus in the nursing field regarding the issue at hand will be leadership. The mechanism of handling the problems of staffing will be clearly analysed using the available literature from various scholars. Inaddition, a brief preview statement and the relevant concepts will be analysed in the paper

The Problem of Nurse Staffing

Basing on the available scholarlyliterature, Staffing is one of most essential aspects in as for as the provision of health care to the patient is concerned .The significant cut offs in nursing budgets coupled with the ever rising shortages has negatively affected the quality of health care that is provided to the ill patients as few nurses are ready to offer their services. Similarly, the nature of the working environment consisting of various constraints like stress have reduced the number of nurses that are willing to provide bed side nursing services. Therefore with all these challenges facing the nurses, the quality of health care being provided to the patients is under a serious threat mainly emanating from staffing issues.

According to the available research carried out the inhealthcare facilities,outcomes of patients are dependent on nurse staffing.In the same research, it was concluded that increased nurse staffing had a positive impact on the health care out comes of the patients.Nurse staffing is and still remains a very big challenge in nursing leadership and requires critical attention for purposes of reinforcing the health care system. Various attempts have been made by Nurse Administrators to reduce on costs and ensure that minimum staffing facilities for nurses are available in their given units (sales, 2015)

Various studies carried out show that their is a direct linkage between limited nurse staffing and the work environment with low levels of staffing being the main cause of stress among the nurses due to heavy workload. Nurses were grossly affected by any significant increases in the number of patient’s hence high levels of dissatisfaction according to the study.In adequate nurse staffing according to the research is also associated with physical,emotional exhaustion,and increased prevalence of injuries related to needles. More so,the research also identified the connection between staffing and the level of performance in different health care units. It was concluded that lack of staffing hadsignificant negative impact in the miss care events. In most cases, miss care events happens due to the heavy workload that is being executed by nurses hence making it difficult to handle special patient cases (Castner, Wu, & Dean-Baar, 2015).

Furthermore, low levels of nurse staffing are attributed to increasing patient morality outcomes in the health system. Research reveals that an increase in the number of patients per nurse reduced the chances of patient survival by a significant unit. For instance one extra client or patient to a nurse had an approximated 5 percent increase in the chances of patient mortality in one month period of intensive health care at the hospital (Young, Sera, $MI young, 2015).Similarly, More studies show that, their various benefits that come along with increased staffing of nurses in as for the reduction of patient mortality is concerned. Patient mortality outcomes reduced with increase in the number of nurses during or after surgical instances. The research also revealed that sepsis, deep vein thrombosis, pulmoray embolism instances declined with increase in staffing. The dependent variable staffing was also the main factor behind the length of time patients spend in hospitals.

During the research it was noted that staffing in nursing plays a major role in reducing simple sickness that could lead to death if there limited health care practitioners. Improved staffing plays a crucial role in improving the health conditions and safety of the patients. Similarly, it reduces cases of missed care that normally arise due to heavy workloads of the nurses. Therefore it’s important for nursing administrators to effectively analyse the role of staffing and its significance in eliminating cases poor health care in hospital facilities. (Spetz, Harless, Herrera& Mark, 2013)

Staffing reduces the number of death per patient and encourages survival for patients who are in terrible conditions due to availability of enough nursing personnel to effectively handle the complications. Staffing increases the available time the nurses can schedule for patients which enables early assessment health conditions before they become complicated. According toresearch, an increases of seven nurses has a positive impact in the lives of a hundred patients. Moreover, limited permanent staff nurses leads to the deployment of inexperiencedmembers who may not adequately offer better services to the patients thus negatively impacting the healthy outcomes of the patients.

Another issue of concern is staffing plans.In most cases staffing plans are drafted in each and every year using data from the previous periods. Staffing plans pay much attention on a wide range of issues like patient volume, budget, legislations, and the number of patients among others. It’s common for staffing plans to omit the various necessities that may be important in a given unit of health care. Surveys carried out reveal that good staffing approaches and practices encourage the effective utilization of the main office in charge of staffing to ensure that nurses are posted in the different units of the health care. Therefore as a result, management is availed with a plan to handle acute changes. Recent research suggests that staffing plans are the major important aspect in a particular unit because of their ability to enhance positive outcomes of the patients.


Information from various scholarly literature sources suggest that, staffing of nurses plays a crucialrole towards the provision of health care to the patients. Most health care facilities are facing the challenge of staffing and thus creating need for clear and radical strategies to address the issue. The available mechanisms to handle the staffing problem are based on economic and the level of work flow which to some extent have not yielded enough results in the health care units (Sales, 2015).Focusing on Watson's theory of caring, the administration system of nursing needs arevolutionary technique can be relevant in promoting staffing of nurses.The health care system can base on Watson's assumptions by ensuring that his theory is effectively integrated in the various leadership hierarchies of the health facility. The proper application and integration of the theory is important in overcoming barriers thus leading to improved health outcomes of the patients (Morrow, M.2014)

The theory of Watson on caring clearly provides moral and ethical guidelines that are relevant for top management while dealing with staffing. According to Watson, all patients have a right to caring and caring shows improving moral levels in the health care system.For proper caring to be provided to the patient the top management has to come up with rigorous strategies that may include increased staffing and finally work on increasing the Nurses to patient ratio. It should be noted in as for as the encouraging of caring is concerned, theavailability of nurses mainly at the bed side Will play a significant contribution in influencingpatient health outcome. The application of the caring theory will also be significant in promoting staffing at various levels in the health facility by management.

Inaddition, the nursing leadership will be able to understand effectively the moralresponsibility that is entrusted on to them to monitor the performance of nurses during the provision of health care services. Improved care provided to the patients and nurses will in turn reduce necessities in the administrativeunits. While offering caring in nursing administration and management, the various leaders of nurses will understand better of what the nursing field is all about. Inadequate staffing and patient health care will become history after the realisation of the importance of proper care by the top leadership of the nurses (Shea, & Cavan, 2014).

Watson's theory if properly utilised by the nursing leadership has a strong impact in helping the health units in overcoming staffing problems through a revolutionaryway. It’s easy to have a paradigm shift to total quality management at all levels of the nursing units in line with organisational vision with the caring vision in mind. The top leadership guided by the theory and principles of Watsonit’s possible for them to put into use the caritas process in health care. It should be noted that, caritas process deals with interventions in the nursing field in line with staffing. Suchprocesses are carried out through involving nurses in various self-care actions.The above actions significantly increases employee satisfaction and retention respectively hence promoting staff availability at the organisation. Employeeretention, leads to the development of experienced staff in the health care unit leading to better services (Spetz, Harless, Herrera, & Mark, 2013).

The enforcement of the caring theory will encourage a good and proper understanding of staffing and its relevance in the organisation practices. The top leadership will address all the challenges in the staffing system and provide the necessarysupport. It’s important to note that better health care for patients depends on the quality of nurses. While applying the caring policy in the organisation, it’s important for the nursing leadership to effectively integrate caring into the whole health care system. Proper staffing is important in the effective provision of health care services to the patients thus leading to a good environment hence better health outcomes of the patients (Castner, Wu, & Dean-Baar, 2015).


The analysis has shaped my view and opinion regarding nursing with great emphasis on staffing. The various scholarly literature have deepened my understanding of the effect of the dependent variables like mortality on the independent variable staffing on patient health outcome. From the literature nurse staffing has been addressed through a proactive approach that involves considering the economic factors. From the paper it can generally be concluded that Watson’stheory of caring is the main solution to the problems facing staffing and patient health care through its concepts. The theory provides a clear guideline that can bring about fundamental changes in nursing leadership, staffing and the entire health care system facility leading to better health care outcomes.


Castner, J., Wu, Y. B.,& Dean-Baar, S. (2015). Multi-level model of missed nursing care in the context of hospital merger. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 37(4), 441-461. doi:10.1177/0193945914535670.

Duffin, C. (2014). Increase in nurse numbers linked to better patient survival rates in ICU. Nursing Standard, 28(33), 10. doi:10.7748/ns2014.

Eunhee, C., Sloane, D. M., Eun-Young, K., Sera, K., &Miyoung, C. (2015). Effects of nurse staffing, work environments, and education on patient mortality: An observational study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52(2), 535-542. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2014.08.006

Hodgson, H. (2014). Nurse-patient ratios - time for a target? Clinical Medicine, 14(2), 99-100. Retrieved from

Morrow, M. (2014). Caring Science, mindful practice: Implementing Watson’s human caring theory. Nursing Science Quarterly,27(3), 263-264. doi:10.1177/0894318414534468.

Sales, A. (2015). Nurse staffing matters: now what? BMJ Quality & Safety, 24(4), 241-243. doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2015-004050.

Shea, L., &Cavan, N. (2014). Application of integral theory in holistic nursing practice. Holistic Nursing Practice, 28(6), 344-352. doi:10.1097/HNP.0000000000000050

Spetz, J., Harless, D., Herrera, C., & Mark, B. (2013).Using minimum nurse staffing regulations to measure the relationship between nursing and hospital quality of care.Medical Care Research and Review, 70(4), 380–399.Retrieved from med/23401064.

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