Nurse Staffing Task Force
BECAUSE SAFE NURSE STAFFING SAVES LIVES
Exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the nurse staffing crisis threatens the health and well-being of patients, our nation’s nurses, and the entire health care system. Driven to build upon the recommendations of the Nurse Staffing Think Tank, the Nurse Staffing Task Force was formed to develop evidence-based, nursing-led solutions addressing the root causes of the staffing crisis. Read a summary of the recommendations below.
Determining a Future with Safe Staffing
The Nurse Staffing Task Force developed recommendations to support appropriate staffing across acute and critical care practice settings. The recommendations seek to support the nursing workforce through long-term sustainable change. They also support and sustain a healthy work environment through guidelines for appropriate staffing that correlates with nurse satisfaction, quality of care, and patient safety outcomes.
Definition of Appropriate Nurse Staffing
Task Force members developed and agreed on the following definition of appropriate nurse staffing:
“Appropriate staffing is a dynamic process that aligns the number of nurses, their workload, expertise, and resources with patient needs in order to achieve quality patient outcomes within a healthy work environment.“
Guiding Principles Towards a Future for Our Nursing Workforce
The Task Force agreed on five guiding principles to serve as guideposts while developing contemporary and progressive pathways toward a new nursing workforce.
SAFE | ACCOUNTABLE | TRANSFORMATIVE | EQUITABLE | COLLABORATIVE
Strategies to address the nurse staffing crisis will be nurse-driven with continuous measurement for success, using an agile approach to innovation and change to accomplish intended results and outcomes.
There is the firm belief that regulation alone will not solve the nurse staffing crisis. However, a fail-safe mechanism is established when efforts are supported by proper and effective rule-making that allow nurses and nurse leaders to succeed in coming together to the table where key discussions are being held. In doing so, nurses and nurse leaders retain their ability to lead and innovate solutions to address the nurse staffing crisis.
About the Nurse Staffing Task Force & Think Tank
Five leading organizations came together as the Partners for Nurse Staffing and convened the Nurse Staffing Task Force.
The Partners for Nurse Staffing realized the importance of allowing diverse voices from across the nursing profession and healthcare the opportunity to share their views on this crisis. Together, they connected nurses of various backgrounds – from the bedside to the boardroom – with other healthcare and workforce experts with a shared vision of driving solutions to address the nurse staffing shortage.
THE NURSE STAFFING THINK TANK – Short-Term Recommendations
In January 2022, the Nurse Staffing Think Tank was called together to develop short term actionable strategies with measurable outcomes that nurse leaders and organizations could implement within 12—18 months.
These recommendations addressed the following areas:
- Healthy work environments
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
- Work schedule flexibility
- Stress injury continuum
- Innovative care delivery models
- Total compensation
THE NURSE STAFFING TASK FORCE – Long-Term Recommendations
After the release of the Think Tank recommendations, the Task Force began working on long-term solutions to the nurse staffing crisis in April 2022.
Task Force members included representatives from professional organizations and stakeholders at the national and state level, representing a broad spectrum of acute and critical care nurse specialties and practice settings.
The Task Force provided a national forum to facilitate dialogue, drive innovative solutions that are consistent with appropriate staffing, and address critical issues of the nurse staffing crisis. Insight was heard from internal and external stakeholders. They shared insight on the impact staffing challenges have on nurses' morale, the work environment, the health and wellness of communities they serve, and the health system overall.
Addressing Staffing is Critial to Ensuring Quality Nursing Care
The evidence strongly suggests appropriate nurse staffing benefits both nurses and patients. Nursing care has a direct impact on the overall quality of health care services. With appropriate staffing levels, there are reductions in:
- Patient mortality rates
- Hospital length of stay
- Readmission rates
- Preventable health care associated injuries and adverse events (ie. falls, hospital-acquired infections and pressure injuries)
Safe Staffing Reduces Nurse Burnout & Fatigue, Increases Patient Satisfaction, and Reduces Hospital Costs
Appropriate staffing levels allow nurses to practice to the full extent of their licensure and expertise and allow nurses to provide quality nursing care to their patients.
Appropriate staffing also reduces nurse fatigue, burnout, and turnover rates. Improved nurse retention increases nursing expertise, which is essential to the care of complex patient needs.
Patients benefit by having experienced nurses caring for them. Nurses benefit by reducing fatigue that may lead to errors and patient harm. Hospital organizations benefit from improved nurse retention through reduced costs associated with hiring and orienting new nurses.
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