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Think Tank Drives Solutions to Address Nurse Staffing Crisis

staffing.pngThe COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating a decades long nursing workforce shortage. This staffing crisis threatens the health and well-being of patients, our nation’s nurses, and the entire health care system.

Driven by the insights of the Nurse Staffing Think Tank, the Partners for Nurse Staffing are working to develop evidence-based, nursing-led solutions that will address the root causes of the staffing crisis.

Because safe nurse staffing saves lives.


What is the Nurse Staffing Think Tank?

American Nurses Association (ANA), American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL), Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) are launching a nurse staffing think tank to find solutions to the nurse staffing shortage. The think tank brings together nurses, leaders, and other stakeholders.

Upcoming meetings

The Nurse Staffing Think Tank will meet every two weeks to discuss topics including the root causes of the nurse staffing shortage, workforce trends and challenges, and actionable short-term strategies to address the current crisis. Six meetings are scheduled to occur:

  • January 11 – Agenda
  • January 25 – Agenda
  • February 8
  • February 22
  • March 8
  • March 22

Download January 25 agenda

For questions or to stay updated, email safestaffingtaskforce@ana.org

What are our nation’s nurses facing?

COVID-19 is magnifying long standing nurse staffing deficits that burden a workforce faced with increasingly complex demands in health care delivery. We need sustainable solutions to the nursing staffing crisis in order to build the workforce at the crux of safe, quality health care.

Over the next decade, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects, an average 194,000 openings for Registered Nurses each year. Additionally, we are racing to offset the number of nurses projected to retire since 19% of our health care workforce is 65 years old or older and the average age of nurses is 52. Supporting the development of recent graduates and early career nurses in a changing health care system is critical to filling these needs.

Inadequate nurse staffing and the resulting unhealthy work environments are primary drivers of stress, chronic nurse fatigue, increased substance misuse and abuse, death by suicide, depression, and anxiety amongst nurses. 41.2% of nurses responding to an American Nurses Foundation COVID-19 survey said that insufficient staffing is the reason they want to leave their position. In addition, 46.86% of respondents said their work is negatively affecting their health and wellbeing.

Upcoming meetings

The Nurse Staffing Think Tank will meet every two weeks to discuss topics including the root causes of the nurse staffing shortage, workforce trends and challenges, and actionable short-term strategies to address the current crisis. Six meetings are scheduled to occur:

January 11
January 25
February 8
February 22
March 8
March 22

DOWNLOAD JANUARY 25 AGENDA

What is the evidence telling us?

Improved staffing levels benefits both nurses and patients. Nursing care has a direct impact on the overall quality of health care services. At appropriate levels, adverse events decline, and patient outcomes improve as outlined in The Business of Caring: Promoting Optimal Allocation of Nursing Resources

With appropriate staffing levels, there are reductions in

  • mortality rates
  • reduction in length of stay
  • reduction in readmission rates
  • a reduction in preventable health care associated injuries and illnesses such as falls, infections, and pressure ulcers

With appropriate staffing levels and skill mix, nurses can practice to the full extent of their licensure and expertise. This will reduce nurse fatigue. Hospitals will benefit from decreased turnover, improved retention, and overall improved job satisfaction.

What’s Next?

Ultimately, the think tank will develop actionable strategies set to implement within a year with measurable outcomes that will address the nurse staffing crisis.

As a collective, this team will set the foundational work for a nurse staffing task force by

  • Providing strategic advice on broad ideas and direction based upon data that identifies the root causes of the nursing shortage
  • Providing input on workforce trends, challenges and issues hindering progress toward feasible and practical staffing solutions
  • Providing strategic direction for broader goals, and
  • Identifying options for action and their associated outcomes


For questions or to stay updated, email safestaffingtaskforce@ana.org

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