Identify and describe at least two competing needs impacting your selected healthcare issue/stressor. Describe a relevant policy or practice in your organization that may influence your selected healthcare issue/stressor. Critique the policy for ethical considerations, and explain the policy’s strengths and challenges in promoting ethics. Recommend one or more policy or practice changes designed to balance the competing needs of resources, workers, and patients, while addressing any ethical shortcomings of the existing policies. Be specific and provide examples. Cite evidence that informs the healthcare issue/stressor and/or the policies, and provide two scholarly resources in support of your policy or practice recommendations.

Assignment: Establishing organizational policies.

Concurrent Needs that Impact the Healthcare Problem/Stressor. The chosen healthcare problem is the lack of qualified nurses at healthcare facilities. This issue has two competing needs. One is to ensure quality patient care and the second is to lower healthcare costs. A shortage of nurses can lead to an increase in workloads, which may compromise patient care. The reason for this is that nurses who are overworked tend to make more mistakes and can have adverse effects on patient outcomes. To remain financially sustainable, healthcare institutions must manage expenses and keep costs down. This could lead to them being reluctant to employ additional nurses which can strain their finances and reduce profitability.

Relevant Practice or Policy in the Organization. The staffing policy is a policy that can impact the supply of nurses at healthcare facilities. It establishes the nurse-to patient ratio minimum that all healthcare facilities need to maintain. Because it guarantees that hospitals have sufficient nurses to deliver adequate patient care, this policy is pertinent. The policy does not allow for flexible care to accommodate fluctuations in patient numbers or complex patient care requirements.

Ethical Criticisms of the Staffing Policy The policy’s goal is to make sure that patients get safe and competent care. However, the policy’s inflexibility can lead to nurses being overworked, which is unethical. Patients should be treated with dignity by nurses. It is important to update the policy to provide flexibility for staffing levels that can be adjusted to accommodate patient care needs.

Recommendations to Policy and Practice Changes The healthcare facility may consider the following modifications:

  1. Implementing flexible staffing models – Healthcare facilities should implement flexible staffing models that allow for adjustments in nurse-to-patient ratios to address variations in patient volumes and the complexity of patient care needs. It will help ensure nurses don’t get overworked and that patients are provided with the best care possible.
  2. Providing incentives for nurses – Healthcare facilities should provide incentives for nurses to encourage them to stay with the facility. You could offer competitive salaries and career opportunities. This would also help you to have a better work/life balance.

A Framework for Evidence-Based Policy and Practice Support The Institute of Medicine recommends that all healthcare facilities have a suitable nurse-to-patient ratio. This is to make sure that quality care is provided. Studies have also demonstrated that nurses’ staffing levels can impact patient outcomes such as hospital-acquired and mortality rates. Aiken and colleagues. A higher ratio of nurse to patient was linked with lower hospital stay lengths and lower mortality. Kane and his colleagues conducted another study. Kane et al. (2007) discovered that higher levels of staff were linked to a lower incidence of hospital-acquired infection.

Let’s conclude that the lack of qualified nurses at healthcare facilities has many consequences. It is necessary to deliver quality patient care and manage the healthcare cost. The staffing policy may be able to alleviate the problem, but it will not ensure that nurses don’t become too busy. Therefore, healthcare facilities should implement flexible staffing models and provide incentives for nurses to ensure that patient care needs are met, and nurses’ well-being is considered. These recommendations have been supported by previous research and evidence from IOM.

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