Posted: January 7th, 2023
Analysis of a Pertinent Healthcare Issue: The Great Resignation
NURS 6501: Interprofessional Organizational and Systems Leadership
Analysis of a Pertinent Healthcare Issue: The Great Resignation
Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that nearly 50 million Americans willingly resigned from their jobs in 2021 in the ongoing Great Resignation phenomenon (Fuller & Kerr, 2022). While the major exodus of employees is partly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, experts warn that the Great Resignation had started way before the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Beijing China in early 2019 with the average monthly resignation frequency rising by 0.10% annually from 2009 – 2019 (Fuller & Kerr, 2022). In the healthcare field, it is recognized that an engaged, qualified, diverse, and talented labor force is fundamental to the optimal functioning of America’s healthcare system. However, there are critical staffing shortages that threaten access to care by communities (American Hospital Association, 2022). Vacancies for various nursing positions amplified by 30% between 2019 and 2030, and the deficiency is anticipated to persist (American Hospital Association, 2022).
Nurses were at the frontline of the pandemic, and a large share suffered burnout, trauma, stress, and elevated behavioral health difficulties that pushed them to resign (Fuller & Kerr, 2022). As stated previously, however, the major challenge of preserving talented, qualified medical professionals preludes the COVID-19 outbreak. It is projected that the U.S. will face a deficiency of >125 000 clinicians by 2023 and there is a necessity for >200,000 RNs annually to replace retiring RNs and fulfill the demand for nursing care (Jiskrova, 2022). In our hospital, the Great Resignation worsened an already dire situation. Five experienced nurse-midwives and six RNs aged >50 years quit working instead of earning additional wages at the end of their careers. The extreme nurse shortage threatened patient safety in the organization at the height of the pandemic, with increased patient mortality attributed to COVID-19 and other treatable illnesses, since more nurses missed work due to the pandemic-associated stress and burnout (Buchan et al., 2022).
Summary of Two Articles on the National Stressor
I selected a topical article published by McKinsey that highlights strategies that can be adopted to develop a U.S. public-health workforce of the future (Kumar et al., 2022). The authors recognize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated workforce exodus on the delivery of health services across the country. Six interventions are proposed in the article for developing and retaining a healthy workforce (Kumar et al., 2022). The first strategy is to re-evaluate the capabilities and roles of public-health staff by investing in systematic intervention to map out the requisite competencies necessary for the future and design customized, role-specific workforce expansion plans. The second is leveraging momentum attained via collaborations established in response to the SARS-CoV-2 outburst and the third is investing in employees by supporting clear avenues for professional advancement and development (Kumar et al., 2022). The fourth strategy is establishing innovating enlistment processes that expand talent pipelines to mitigate the Great Resignation, and the fifth proposal is prioritizing health equity to guarantee that the health staff mirror the community they serve via refreshed employment classifications and training focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (Kumar et al., 2022). Lastly, the above authors propose the need for cultivating strong leaders by redesigning the orders of leadership in public health via external recruitment and upskilling.
The second article I selected also reveals the unprecedented staffing difficulties that have braced nurse leaders in the past two years. The authors attribute the challenges to the upsurge of COVID-19-positive patients, which overwhelmed the country’s health system (Molle & Allegra, 2021). The authors assessed nurses’ views on the benefits of a buddy-staffing framework. The findings of the evaluation of the buddy staffing model revealed that it can potentially improve nurse retention and reduce the mass exodus of RNs by promoting teamwork, efficiency, patient safety, and staff enablement (Molle & Allegra, 2021). All the above benefits positively influence organizational culture and alleviate stress and burnout attributed to the readiness to quit the nursing profession completely or quit specific organizations.
Strategies to Reduce Nursing Shortages
From the reviewed articles so far, it is apparent that the nursing shortage is a major challenge to the U.S. healthcare industry. At our hospital, nursing scarcity was resolved by collaborating with international nursing recruitment agencies to recruit foreign-trained RNs, mainly from the Caribbean, Asia, and African countries (Buchan et al., 2022). The hospital has also developed stress management and coping interventions to empower medical staff to develop resilience to burnout. Based on the findings of the two scholarly articles, the hospital can also work on upskilling the direct care workforce to have RNs who are optimally enabled to manage the care of individuals and reduce the pressure placed on the hospital (Kumar et al., 2022). Besides, the hospital should also seek to highlight health equity to ensure that the employees’ community they serve via refreshed employment classifications and training focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (Kumar et al., 2022).
American Hospital Association. (2022). Fact sheet: Strengthening the health care workforce. https://www.aha.org/fact-sheets/2021-05-26-fact-sheet-strengthening-health-care-workforce
Buchan, J., Catton, H., & Schaffer, F. A. (2022). Sustain and Retain in 2022 and beyond: The global nursing workforce and the Covid-19 pandemic. International Council of Nurses. https://www.icn.ch/system/files/2022-01/Sustain and Retain in 2022 and Beyond- The global nursing workforce and the COVID-19 pandemic.pdf
Fuller, J., & Kerr, W. (2022, March 23). The Great Resignation Didn’t Start with the Pandemic. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2022/03/the-great-resignation-didnt-start-with-the-pandemic
Jiskrova, G. (2022). Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the workforce: From psychological distress to the Great Resignation. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 76(6), 2021–2022. https://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2022-218826
Kumar, P., Lurie, E., & Parthasarathy, R. (2022). Building the US public-health workforce of the future. McKinsey & Company, February. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/building-the-us-public-health-workforce-of-the-future
Molle, E., & Allegra, M. (2021). Nurses’ perceptions of the buddy staffing model: Implications for nurse leaders. Nurse Leader, 19(6), 625–629. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mnl.2021.08.008
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