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Nursing Shortage Provokes Nurse Burnout, Low Quality of Care and High Prone to Medical Errors

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Low job satisfaction often prompts the nurses to leave the profession in favour of more satisfactory and less stressful professions.   As these new nurses leave the nursing profession, the nursing shortage is exacerbated and more work is assigned to fewer nurses.   And so we see a vicious cycle in the nursing profession.   A report from the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union (CFNU) set forth that poor working condition is one of the main causes of nurse burnout and stress.   This poor working condition is also caused by tight hospital budgets (Fagin, et. al., 2006).   The limited budget of hospitals often prompts administrators to cut or limit allocations for hospital needs and even hospital services.   Consequently, the hospitals end up being poorly maintained, poorly equipped, and staff there poorly compensated.   Moreover, older and more experienced nurses often do not have adequate time to train new nurses; and when they do have the time, the hospital cannot compensate them for the additional services for such services.   As a result, new nurses often end up being poorly trained and thereby unable to cope with the challenges of the nursing profession.   Laschinger (as quoted by Fagin, 2006) notes that “ short-staffing means few hospitals can spare experienced nurses to mentor new ones, and as a result new nurses are confronting full hospital patient loads one week out of school” .  In actual practice, because of limited nurses available to cope with patient numbers, patients are often discharged quickly or as soon as they are able to exhibit a semblance of independence in their daily functions.   There is a dangerous risk associated with early patient discharge, one which may or may not manifest in some patients.   These risks may range from infection to insufficient patient education and even to medical errors.   The haste that seems to accompany patient care and discharge may further endanger the patient’ s life because of the compromised quality of patient care.  

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