Understaffing in hospitals has posed an issue for years, and due to recent strains on the system and other various compounding problems, this issue has only worsened.
Short staffing can cause numerous complications, and many of them can and do affect the health of patients.
Why does understaffing happen?
The American Hospital Association discusses the huge issue of understaffing in hospitals. Understaffing occurs for many reasons. Most notably, the field itself is very difficult to work in and many people experience intense burnout in a year or even less. This leads to a high turnover rate, which puts more pressure on the remaining staff, who then experience even worse burnout.
While this is problematic and terrible for the workers, it is also a major issue for the patients. After all, patients depend on the staff to meet their needs and care for them as they recover. If a hospital does not have enough staff to go around, many patients fall by the wayside.
Problems for the patients
Understaffing can also lead to more exhaustion in the staff that sticks around, which increases the chance of medical accidents occurring. This can include giving someone the wrong medication, forgetting to check on a patient who needs monitoring, or mislabeling someone’s allergies or negative medical reactions.
Even the smallest slip could potentially harm someone’s well-being in a hospital setting, which is why it is so important for hospital staff to be in peak condition every time they go to work. Understaffing is an explanation for these problems, but not an excuse for the lives they damage.