The nursing shortage impacts the world in a prodigious way. The nursing shortage has an adverse impact on patient care, as well as on nurses. The causes of the nursing shortage are multifaceted and there is no single measure that influences the declining issues. The most concerning issue of the nursing shortage is the decline in patient care, and positive outcome (Buchan, 2010). The research question in this study is the following: How does the nursing shortage affect quality of patient care, work stress and nurse job satisfaction?
It is a wellknown fact that the nursing shortage increases work stress, by increasing workload and in return, this effects nursing care in a tremendous way. The design of this study is an explanatory research design. Explanatory design seeks to explain the reasons for the shortfall. Explanatory research is qualitative in design and seeks to explain the specific research question. As stated in (CCN, 2015), qualitative research design is chosen to understand the meaning of phenomena and may form the basis of theories.
In addition, this study uses a correlation research design and seeks to ask and determine descriptive questions about what is occurring at the time. This study seeks to determine if there is a relationship among variables (CCN, 2015). This study also uses statistical analysis and calculates the mean effect, and succeeds in finding a correlation between specific factors. A pilot study was instituted as part of the research data collection process.
A multitude of design factors are used in the research process, and as in any research goal, the goal is find a trustworthy and solid base for information to improve the future of nursing care and patient outcomes. Finding a sample population is a critical part of the research process. It is imperative to find a realistic and adequate representation of the population. The sampling strategy is a crucial aspect of the research process, an incorrect sample of the population can create a significant sampling error, which in return can distort the finding.
A sampling strategy must meet all legal and ethical requirements (CCN, 2015). The sample used in this study was at the District General Hospital of Polonnaruwa, which has a total of 23 units and equipped with 750 beds for patient care. The target group of employees was the total nursing staff of 412 nurses and patients of the hospital at the time of the study. Of the 412 nurses, 100 nurses were selected based on the random sampling method of this group of nurse, which articulates a purposive sample was selected and chosen to enlighten the research process.
In a purposive sample subjects are chosen carefully for their ability to inform the researcher and to answer the research question (CCN, 2015). Data collection methods are a critical aspect of the research process. Data collection is critical based on the fact that if data is improperly collected, the findings based on that data are worthless (CCN, 2015). Data collection must be consistent, reliable and unbiased. The data collection procedure in this research design started with a structured questionnaire, developed by researchers, based on literature review to assess nurse’s stress factors, workload, satisfaction, and patient care.
The sections of the questionnaire were furthered separated into sections, based on demographic data, job satisfaction, and workload. Then a self-developed scale to measure the variables of the study were completed and focused on patient outcomes and quality of patient care. Initial contact with the participants of the study was made with Chief Nursing Officer. Confidentiality was the upmost concern for the study, as confidentiality was promised throughout the study. Secondary data was also used and assessed to view the statistics on the nursing shortage and the increasing nurse workload.
The secondary part of the research study also collected from recorded and published data on the specified topics of concern. In addition, a pilot study was carried out by nursing officers of the hospital. Reliability of data collection was a critical concern of the researchers in this study and for this reason, content validity of instruments were used and based on a comprehensive study and investigation on a relevant literature review conducted by the researchers. The Cronbach’s Alpha test was used as a part of reliance and internal consistency of the instruments.
All constructs were found to be highly reliable in manner (Hellerawa, 2015). Limitations are a part of research studies and should be recognized. In this particular study the limitations were the sampling procedure and selection. Nurses were chosen from one specific hospital. Another limitation of this study, was the fact that not all of the units of the hospital actively contributed to the study. Only 93% complied with the study. An additional limitation of this study was that the researchers relied heavily on nurses answering their questionnaires objectively.
The researcher were reliant on honestly and consistency of answers. There was also a design flaw in the collection of data. The secondary research process was to collect data recorded and published data based on statistics, however it did not further research reliability and trustworthiness of this secondary research process. Another missing link in this study was the direct link of research based on patient outcomes and the correlation between patient outcomes and the nursing shortage, in hopes of a more evident link and correlation.
A stronger research study would have included more statistical data on nursing and patient outcome The findings in this study were notable in manner. There was a direct correlation between the nursing shortage, workload, job satisfaction and ngative patient outcomes. The research concludes that nurses are consistently working long hours, with an increase on workload and nursing care demands. This study revealed the nurse’s workload directly impacted patient care in a negative manner.
This study also recognized the professionalism of nurses and their own individual power to manage their emotions in this high stress environment. In this study it was also concluded by statistical data that there is a severe shortage within the hospital. (Based on facts and data of hospital shift assignments. ) This study also concluded that the nursing workload is mainly influenced by the nursing shortage and this directly effects patient care. The increased workload led to nursing errors and work was not fully getting completed.
This in return, directly effects patient care in a negative manner. This study found a direct correlation between the nursing shortage, workload, nursing job satisfaction and negative patient outcomes. The nursing profession, and nursing care of patients are a critical part of positive patient outcomes. Nurses are the face of healthcare today and are the link to health and personal care and continued improvement in patient care. The points of this study bring out the need and correlation for quality and sufficient staffing.
The need, desire and demand is there to increase patient outcomes and in order to do this we need to start with sufficient staffing on our nursing units. This will then increase nursing satisfaction, decrease the nursing workload and allow for more individual care. Now is a time for action, and this research study is a building block for future improvements. This research study was successful at correlating a distinct cause and effect relationship among specific areas of concern. This research study raises important questions for the future of nursing.
With an increase in patient lifespan and an increase in patient comorbidities, how will the nursing shortage affect our Future? An immediate change in practice is warranted in the highest extent. This research study shows us the need we have as a nation and around the world, to focus on nursing to make a change and improve healthcare. This charges starts with nurses. Nurses are the foundation in continual improvement in patient care. This study is successful at finding the need to take care of our nurses to take better care of our population.