Respond to at least two of your colleagues who chose a different national healthcare issue/stressor than you selected. Provide feedback to their response and explain how their chosen national healthcare issue/stressor may also impact your work setting (my work setting is Substance Abuse and Mental Health), and what (if anything) is being done to address the national healthcare issue/stressor.
The current national healthcare issue is the unsafe level of nurse staffing in most healthcare facilities. This has been worsened by different factors, including the current COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses are having huge workloads to contend with as a result of the increasing volume of patients who are seeking health care services. The shortage of nurses and the increasing volume of patients is one of the primary causes of burnout among nurses, which in turn leads to high staffing turnover (Bakhamis et al, 2019). The level of nursing shortage in the United States is already alarming, and it is continuing to worsen. Other than the increasing number of patients who are seeking nursing-related services, the other cause of the nursing shortage is the retirement of baby boomers who are not adequately being replaced. The educational bottleneck is making it difficult to fill in different nursing positions at a rate equal to the demand for nursing care (Xue et al, 2016). A good number of nurses in the US are suffering stress, being overworked, and at the same time being underappreciated. This directly impacts nursing care service delivery, as more nurses are opting for greener pastures. Impact on Work Setting
Staffing shortage negatively impacts the quality of nursing outcomes and also jeopardizes patients’ safety. A nurse suffering from burnout is likely to cause medication errors, which puts the life of patients at great risk. Such nurses are also likely to be less productive. Staffing shortage forces nurses to work for longer periods. This means that they will not have adequate time to think about new ideas and integrate evidence into their practice. The nurses, therefore, become less creative (Norful et al, 2018). Burnouts make working conditions to be stressful. This reduces the levels of job satisfaction among staff, increasing the chances of staff turnover. Other than dissatisfaction and burnout, the huge workloads are likely to result in injury and fatigue. Shortage of staff results in delays in service delivery, and also negatively impact nurse-to-patient relationships (Xue et al, 2016). Responses by the Organization and Changes Implemented
Within the health care organization where I work, we have numerous solutions to the shortage of nurse staffing. First, the organization has set aside funds to employ and train more staff to help bridge the shortage of nurses. The organization gives a very attractive salary package to nurses. This has helped to promote retention. There are contracts with nursing agencies, and this has helped to immediately replace those who are retiring or leaving for other assignments. The organization also subsidizes school fees for nurses who are willing to continue their education. They have ensured that our work environment is healthy and supports our work. We have flexible scheduling of nurses, which has enabled most of us to juggle our busy schedules. This reduces stress and the emotional demands associated with the profession. These interventions can be adopted at a larger scale to help reduce the stress associated with the shortage. However, a more intensive strategy is needed to help solve this problem on a wider scale. This includes building capacity in nursing schools to enable them to train more nurses to help meet the demand. A safe level of nurse staffing will ensure burnout among nurses is reduced, and this will help to improve quality and patients’ safety. It will improve efficiency and reduce medication errors associated with burnout (Norful et al, 2018).
As stated in the assignment, there are numerous difficulties confronting healthcare today, including escalating costs, regulation, technological disruption, mental health services, and access to care. It was tough for me to select among the issues because I believe they are all equally significant. However, I opted to focus on the challenges of escalating healthcare costs that some of us may have experienced or know someone who has. Many friends and relatives have told me that they do not want to go to the doctors or hospitals because of the high cost. According to Walden University (2018), The Healthcare Environment video file noted perhaps no other industry in the United States generates as much controversy as healthcare. It is not difficult to see why. Because healthcare affects practically everyone, there is usually a lot of interest when talking about it. It is almost certainly discussed on television and in the news. Healthcare is pervasive in politics and business, and as a nurse, you are immersed in it every day (Walden University LLC, 2018). Most of us are fortunate to have healthcare coverage through our employers, but we may be paying higher prices to maintain it.
However, it is vital and in the best interest of everyone to talk about escalating healthcare expenses as a national health concern. In 2020, healthcare spending in the United States increased by 9.7% totaling $4.1 trillion, or $12,530 per person. Health spending contributed to 19.7% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (CMS.gov). Amongst the most popular healthcare-related regulations is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed into law in 2010 and requires all people living in poverty to have health insurance (HHS.gov). By 2018, the uninsured rate in the United States had reduced to 8.5 percent, down from 15% before the Affordable Care Act ( Berchick et al., 2019). Therefore, Affordable Care Act has a positive impact on the healthcare system. However, the rising healthcare costs are not solely due to the ACA. It caused a profound transformation in the healthcare system. However, according to early estimates from the National Health Interview Survey issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9.6% of Americans, or 31.1 million individuals, are without healthcare coverage during the first six months of 2021 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The United States Healthcare system has long appeared to be convoluted and may be unjust.
According to Blue Cross/Shield, the cost of medical treatment is the main factor driving healthcare expenditures in the United States, accounting for 90 percent of total spending. These costs represent the rising expense of caring for people with chronic or long-term medical conditions and the rising cost of new drugs, surgeries, and technologies. Additionally, other variables propelling healthcare costs in the United States are prescription medications, chronic diseases, and lifestyle (BlueCross/Blue Shield).
Branning et al 2016 article revealed that no segment of the healthcare industry wants to take responsibility for rising expenses, and none has had to thus far. With everyone contributing to the rising cost of healthcare, there are a plethora of easy targets. Pharmaceutical companies are blamed by lawmakers, who then accuse health insurance and pharmacy benefits management (Branning et al., 2016). Increasing healthcare expenses affect families in a variety of ways. Out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays, deductibles, and medications, premiums, have a significant impact on family budgets.
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