The ongoing nursing shortage has led to significant complications for healthcare providers, including ASCs. As a result of increased burnout brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses across the country are leaving the field entirely. This is causing rising compensation prices and scheduling conflicts in many locations.
A 2021 study performed by the University of St. Augustine (USA) for Health Sciences showed projected deficits by state in the year 2030. California led the list with a projected deficit of 44,500 nurses, while Texas projects a deficit of 15,900.
Below are several issues caused due to the shortage, and their impacts on ASCs.
Rising compensation costs
As nurses continue to leave the profession, the value of well-trained, experienced nurses continues to climb. Those that remain are asking for increased compensation, with even higher costs being associated with traveling nurses and temporary agency employees. While nursing schools and graduate programs work to fill the need, high compensation rates may continue to climb in the meantime.
Effects on morale & scheduling
The effect of losing nurses can be felt throughout an ASC, hospital, or private practice. Having less nurses on staff leads to increased workloads on those remain, decreasing morale and increasing stress and the effects of burnout.
USA’s study showed four challenges the shortage placed has on current nurses, and their resulting impact on patients:
- Less time leads to bypassed safety protocols and lapses of continuity in the treatment of patients.
- By paying less attention to detail to complete work, nurses under considerable stress make mistakes and errors, potentially leading to a risk of over- or under-medicating patients.
- Increased stress leads to further errors and reduced job performance felt by the quality of care provided to patients.
- To continue to provide care in a reasonable time, nurses using shortcuts around routines or processes provide compromise the quality of care provided, thus increasing the risk of infections and compromised data security.
Burnout quickly became a major issue early in the pandemic and has continued to be a topic as time has progressed. The shrinking number of nurses has increased the workload of others, exacerbating burnout symptoms such as fatigue. The overwhelming emotional and physical stress can quickly lead to other factors such as depression and anxiety. ASC administrators have taken various steps to help reduce the effects. This can be through increased compensation, additional employee appreciation days, the additional of added mental health benefits, and bonus time off.
According to Becker’s, some locations are closing more during the week in order to move their limited number of nurses from location to location. This quickly leads to lost profits and an increasing workload on the nurses themselves. ASC administrators must be quick to identify potential ways to ensure their location can provide high quality patient care while delicately managing the workload of their nurse employees, both temporary and permanent.
The nursing shortage has brought numerous difficulties to the healthcare industry, especially ASCs. It’s clear these problems will continue to linger while younger nurses are trained and work to close the deficit. However, other issues will last longer than others and will require careful planning and execution from ASC administrators.
Tips for success
One way to alleviate issues brought about by the nursing shortage is to ensure you have plenty of support and resources to fill positions. PE GI Solutions offers recruitment assistance for partners as part of our PE Center Solutions and PE Practice Solutions platforms.
To learn more about PE GI Solutions and our practice and center solutions platforms, visit pegisolutions.com, email us at email@example.com or call 877-442-3687.