Nurse Staffing Task Force
Learn more about the Nurse Staffing Task Force Project ECHO® Virtual Event Series
The Nurse Staffing Task Force Project ECHO® Series, a free, five-part interactive webinar series with strategies to address the current staffing crisis, launched on September 14, 2023 and concluded on October 19, 2023 with over 2,800 registered participants.
Each stand-alone session listed below featured a brief presentation from a subject matter expert followed by an interactive, small group discussion. The sessions were intended to provide key recommendations and actions for effective advocacy for all stakeholders who can positively impact the nursing workforce.
- Session 1 – Creating a Healthy & Supportive Nurse Work Environment: Key Steps
- Session 2 – Transforming Cost into Value: Recognizing Nurses’ Unique Contribution
- Session 3 – Innovative Care Delivery in Nursing: A Paradigm Shift in Healthcare
- Session 4 – Maximizing Nursing Efficiency: The Future of Regulatory Innovation
- Session 5 – Achieving Excellence in Healthcare: Nurse Staffing Standards
The series flyer [PDF] shares more detailed information on each session.
Thank you to all of our subject matter experts and to our participants for making the series a success!
Access Session Resources from the Nurse Staffing Task Force Project ECHO® Series:
Watch all five session recordings from our YouTube playlist or review the session slide decks and accompanying follow-up questions below:
Shaping the Future of Nurse Staffing Amidst the Healthcare Staffing Shortage
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. The healthcare staffing shortage statistics are alarming, and many ask, "is there a nursing shortage?” The answer is yes, and it has led to a need for immediate and effective solutions.
Driven to build upon the recommendations of the Partners for 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, including the shortage of nursing staff. 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. These 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. The recommendations are part of our comprehensive approach on how to fix staffing shortages in healthcare.
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 AMIDST THE NURSE STAFFING SHORTAGE
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.
NURSE STAFFING TASK FORCE: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY TABLE
REFORM THE WORK ENVIRONMENT
· Establish empowered professional governance committees that include direct-care nurses and have authority to create and sustain flexible staffing approaches
· Implement safety management systems and programs that create a healthy work environment and support the physical and psychological safety and well-being of core and contingent staff
· Support the role of nurse leaders in creating and sustaining a healthy work environment
INNOVATE THE MODELS FOR CARE DELIVERY
· Modernize care delivery models and ensure they are inclusive, evidence-informed, and technologically advanced
· Establish innovation in care delivery models as a strategic priority within organizations
· Reduce physical workload and cognitive overload and prioritize high value patient care by incentivizing the de-implementation of high burden/low value nursing tasks
ESTABLISH STAFFING STANDARDS THAT ENSURE QUALITY CARE
· Support implementation of the Think Tank Recommendations for specialty nurse organizations to develop staffing standards for populations they serve
· Advocate for state and/or federal regulation and legislation that advances meeting minimum staffing standards
· Propose that CMS establish enforceable policies that support implementation of minimum staffing standards
· Propose that The Joint Commission (TJC) enhance standards to support appropriate staffing
IMPROVE REGULATORY EFFICIENCY
· Improve efficiency of licensure processes and accessibility for entry into practice for registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs)
· Remove barriers to full scope of practice for RNs, LPNs, and APRNs
· Increase availability and accessibility of nursing workforce data to state boards of nursing, policymakers, regulators, and other influencers
VALUE THE UNIQUE CONTRIBUTIONS OF NURSES
· Advocate for the development and utilization of approaches that quantify the impact of nursing on organizational performance and outcomes
· Advocate for universal adoption and utilization of systems, including a unique nurse identifier, that capture data to quantify nursing value
· Collaborate with payers to explore health system payment models that reflect the value of nursing
BECAUSE SAFE NURSE STAFFING SAVES LIVES.
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 PARTNERS FOR NURSE STAFFING THINK TANK – Short Term Recommendations
In January 2022, the Partners for 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 Internal and external stakeholders shared insight on the impact staffing challenges have on nurses' morale, the work environment, health and wellness of communities they serve, and the health system overall.
ADDRESSING STAFFING IS CRITICAL 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 such as
- Hospital-acquired infections
- 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. Amidst the nurse staffing shortage, it's important that our healthcare workforce is equipped to address this ongoing issue.
Appropriate staffing also reduces nurse fatigue, burnout, and turnover rates. Improved nurse retention increases nursing expertise, which is essential to the care of complex patients.
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 retention by reducing costs associated with hiring and orienting new nurses.
Read more about the nurse staffing crisis and how we're working to fix staffing shortages in healthcare.
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