The Shortage of Nurses

The significance of nurses in the healthcare system cannot be understated. Often, beyond the much-needed care they provide during preparation for treatment and after remedy procedures, they also play a key role in being the first to identify any problems that may occur during the length of a patient’s hospitalization. Yet despite this, the issue of understaffing among nursing quarters but remains a key issue that needs to be solved. The United States faces a scarcity in the nursing faculty that in turns has a ripple effect on the numbers of nurses being less.
Problem statement.
Lower numbers of nursing faculty in health facilities are reported to correspond to reduced quality of patient care. The results are such that patients are on the receiving end of the negatives since they do not have access to adequate care. A report by the Bureau of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in 2006 estimates that the amount of nurse entering the workforce does not meet the demands and neither do the projected future entries (Littlejohn et al., 2012). It also reports that the low numbers are due to the fact that nursing schools have few facilities that limit the number of applicant who can be accepted for training hence keeping the number of trained and qualified nurses at a level quite below the needed numbers.

Context of Problem: Patient care in health facilities.

Credible evidence shows a correlation between quality patient care in health facilities and the availability of nursing care in these facilities (Wright & Bretthauer, 2010). Among the issues that arise from due to the shortage of nurses include, insufficient care as the few have their attention stretched to all patients; this presents problems such as neglect, haphazard and hurried rounds, higher chances for mistakes and discontent among the nurses which in itself could spell a lot of trouble due to the fact that they could make more mistakes due to the lack of drive and focus (Littlejohn et al., 2012).

The government has for long recognized the need to increase the size of the nursing faculty. An evidence based solution established before involved outsourcing worker from other developed countries last done in 2004 (Yordy, 2006). This move, however, came under criticism from various local and international health bodies due to its anticipated effects of curtailing other nations’ effort to deal with their own matters to do with health (Wright & Bretthauer, 2010). The importance of nursing intervention is crucial in ensuring that patients recover hence, various efforts have to be made to increase both the size of the nursing faculty and the quality of the care they provide. Nursing care may differ from one health care agency to another but the goals remain the same; to ensure that the ill are healed of their conditions and ailments (Yordy, 2006). Patient care is thus such a crucial part of the American health care system and this can be illustrated in a Picot statement.

PICOT-formatted Statement.

The issue regarding the shortage of nurses is framed as a statement that answers a probing question based on a criteria of population, intervention, comparison outcome and time also referred to as the PICOT system. This particular capstone research shall have it question as:

Does the increase in the number of nurses result in better patient care in health care facilities?

Population: The population sample includes all adult patients of both genders, and of age eighteen years and above, or those who have been undergoing rehabilitation on a long-term care basis.

Interventions: The interventions tested in the researched include increasing the number of nurses to match with an estimated suitable nurse-to-patient ratio, introducing different shift arrangements to improve flexibility in nurses’ shifts, introducing better facilities and management methods.

Comparison: the comparisons are to be made between the facilities with the makeover improvements and those without the same.

Outcome: The expected outcome is the noticeable increase in patient care, and corresponding patient satisfaction and increased job satisfaction among the nurses.

Time: The duration required to carry out the research is about eight weeks during the duration of the Capstone course.


Littlejohn, L., Campbell, J., & Collins-McNeil, J. (2012). Comparative analysis of Nursing Shortage. International Journal of Nursing.

Wright, P.D., & Bretthauer, K. M. (2010). Strategies for Addressing the Nursing Shortage: Coordinated decision making and workforce flexibility. Decision Sciences, 41(2), 312-401.

Yordy, K. D. (2006). The Nursing faculty shortage: A crisis for health care.

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