Healthcare Shortages in Georgia

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Question

  • Outline some of the staffing shortages in the market where you live. Are they consistent with national trends? Atlanta, Georgia
  • Design a strategy that describes how your organization would alleviate some staffing shortages, including whether you would hire licensed practical nurses instead of registered nurses.

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Answer

The COVID-19 pandemic has had the effect of accelerating the healthcare human resource crisis in Georgia. In the past twelve months, over 11,000 nursing positions sit vacant, with a major shortage in the number of intensive care unit (ICU) nurses (Hart and Mariano, 2021). In 2020, there were more job openings for nurses in Georgia due to the pandemic as many nurses quit their jobs due to heavy workloads and burnouts (Hart and Mariano, 2021). Georgia is forecasted to replace a huge percentage of its nursing workforce before 2030 as the shortages exhaust the existing workforce leading to high turnover rates.

The chronic staffing shortages in Georgia are consistent with the national trends, contributing to a national crisis in the healthcare system. The lack of enough staff reduces the ability of nurses to respond faster to patient care, thus reducing their patients’ quality of care. Besides, it leads to poor infection control in hospitals and nursing homes, which leads to poor patient care outcomes (Yang et al., 2021). Nurses are also overworked as the attending staff struggles to treat as many patients as possible resulting in stress and burnout.  Besides, the death of patients due to Covid-19 takes an emotional toll on the nurses, causing them to develop anxiety and depression.

Strategies and practices to alleviate the staffing shortages include increased access to education, workplace flexibility, and advocacy. Education programs that encourage students to study nursing, complete their studies and pursue further studies in their programs is an effective strategy for increasing the nursing workforce. Besides, creating a flexible workplace culture that supports nurses and allows them to create their own working schedules will motivate nurses and reduce turnover (University of St. Augustine, 2021). Most importantly, healthcare organizations must also consider the place of Licensed Nursing Practitioners in helping ease the strain on the existing registered nurse workforce. Ultimately, nursing executives should advocate for crucial topics such as appropriate staffing and workplace safety for the nurses to encourage them to remain on staff.

References

  1. Hart, A., & Mariano, W. (2021, August 20). Georgia nursing shortage at crisis levels. ajc. https://www.ajc.com/news/coronavirus/georgia-nursing-shortage-at-crisis-levels/G37X6GW2HRDEXGWB6OS6OBA5KE/
  2. University of St. Augustine. (2021, May 25). The 2021 American nursing shortage: A data study. University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. https://www.usa.edu/blog/nursing-shortage/
  3. Yang, B. K., Carter, M. W., & Nelson, H. W. (2021). Trends in COVID-19 cases, deaths, and staffing shortages in US nursing homes by rural and urban status. Geriatric Nursing, 42(6), 1356-1361. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gerinurse.2021.08.016