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In our hospitals we have a critical shortage of available nurses on almost every shift and in every unit.  When we are working on a shift and unit that has a higher than average rate of call-outs, with a constant full capacity patient load we find ourselves torn between keeping up with the numbers, and requests of the hospital and providing accurate patient care to our patients.  While many forget that patient care does not simply mean reading the monitors, and taking vitals, and administering medicine, it means being there for your patients, providing them an education on their condition, and being able to answer questions and assist them to be as prepared as they can be upon their discharge.  Unfortunately as nurses we face this type of environment on a daily basis and we must learn to adjust and adapt while always maintaining proper patient care.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]

It is imperative as a nurse to maintain the team working environment in a unit, but if there are challenges to this, we must remember that we have a legal, ethical, and medical obligation to provide the necessary care for our patients in the best way possible.  In this particular case I feel that there is a definite need for hospital administration to review the statistics on this unit as it relates to the sick call outs and address the issue with those that may be chronic abusers of this policy.  They must see the seriousness of this type of behavior causes not only as it affects their unit members but the patients that are on their floor.  Often times hospital administration does not recognize the strain that these type of events put on the nursing staff that is left present on the unit and a friendly reminder can often go a long way when they take action and research the issues.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

Unfortunately when we enter the nursing field we may have felt that providing medical care would not involve planning and strategy.  This is complete inaccurate train of thought.  While providing care in the unit we must first take a few moments to prioritize and plan our shift so that we can provide the required care such as vital checks, medications, and charting, but also determine patients that will need discharge orders, and instructions provided to them in order to be best prepared upon discharge and in turn give them the opportunity to continue their recovery at home without an additional visit to the hospital and admission back to the unit.  We as nurses can take a large part of the burden in providing an education to patients when doctors are too busy to do so.  Often time’s patients may be afraid to speak with their doctors, or questions may arise after he/she is long gone and they may turn to you as the unit nurse for this information.  We should never feel too busy to provide this as education can be as crucial to their recovery as the medications themselves.

While your manager is expressing her concerns as to how your unit will perform in the upcoming Ontario Health Quality Report that is the perfect opportunity to discuss your frustrations and what is going on.  A manager cannot successfully manage and worry about results on a survey if they are not actively taking part in finding solutions for the issues.  While the unit may be over budget and additional staffing cannot be added there are factors that can be addressed that will assist in ensuring that the care provided is up to the necessary standards as well as improving the satisfaction scores.  For example, the 65% hand wash rating can easily be increased if a simple reminder is made that this is a procedure that must be followed and not a choice.  If staff feels they will be held accountable then they will willingly make the change and comply.  Unfortunately when things are not addressed and just allowed to happen they become the new habit and things will never change.  [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

As a nurse in a unit that is experiencing issues following procedures and implementing best practices we must take a stand and do what we feel is the best way for us to deal with the stressful environment as well as provide exceptional up to standard care to our patients.  While it may be frustrating, and decrease the morale of the team if we are stronger and believe in making things better we can make that difference.  We have an obligation to our patients to address the areas of concern and follow the standards of care that we have learned.  In doing so we will begin to see a turnaround in the unit as well as less repeat visits from patients who may not have received the appropriate and all-encompassing care, as well as may have missed out on critical education that could help alleviate their issues.  The need for nurses continues to grow at an alarming rate, shortages are an issue that affects every area, every facility, and every unit.  If we focus on the negative and stressful aspects of the job we may not be able to focus on the recruitment of new nurses and encouraging them to take part in this rewarding career.


Berliner, H. S., & Ginzberg, E. (2002). Why this hospital nursing shortage is different. Journal of the American Medical Association, 288, 2742-2744.

Buerhaus, P. I., Staiger, D. O., & Auerbach, D. I. (2000). Why are shortages of hospital RNsconcentrated in specialty care units? Nursing Economics, 18, 111-116.

National League for Nursing. (2001 July/August). Impact of the nursing shortage on critical care. Nursing and Health Care Perspectives, 22(4), 71-72.

Stevenson, E. L. (2003). Future trends in nursing employment: The nursing shortage has made choosing the right career path easier. American Journal of Nursing, 103(1), 19-25.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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