Poll taps into nursing staff challenges

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Nurses across the country care for their patients at all types of facilities. But would they want to be cared for at their own?

According to a recent study conducted by the American Nurses Association (ANA), more than half of the nurses surveyed said they wouldn't feel comfortable having someone they are close to receive care at their place of work.

That was just one of many eye-catching results garnered from a study, which drew responses from more than 10,000 nurses in less than two months.

The Safe Staffing Poll, which was conducted to gauge staffing issues in healthcare facilities and how nurses are being affected by them, highlighted the growing need to fill the nursing shortage. Problems with retaining nurses may not be new to the eyes of those in the healthcare industry, but the poll brought to light common issues across the board and the importance of assessing them in order for nurses to deliver high-quality patient care.

The poll shows that nurses are not only aware of the challenges associated with being short-staffed—but are feeling the pain from them. Almost three-quarters of the respondents (73.1%, including nurses working in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools), said they believe staff numbers in their unit are insufficient. This may explain why the majority of them often complete non-nursing tasks, such as delivering meal trays, transferring patients, drawing labs, and going to the pharmacy.

The lack of staff also means many nurses are not getting the appropriate time for themselves. A quarter of participants said they take their full lunch break once a month, and 24.9% take it once a week. A smaller portion (11.5%) never takes their entire lunch break.

Other findings may raise some eyebrows and bring attention to the future of nursing. The study portrayed how nurses see these staffing shortages affecting both the quality patient care and patient safety. In addition to the 51.8% of respondents who would not feel confident having someone they are close to receive care at their place of work, 51.2% believe the quality of nursing care in their unit has declined in the past year.

The poll also revealed that the majority of respondents were considering leaving their current position, with 46% of them relating this to their facility being understaffed.

Despite the significant numbers that showed participants were looking for other positions, most of them will not be straying far. More than three-quarters of respondents (76.2%) said they would not be leaving the nursing profession. This illustrates that nurses are satisfied in their profession, but find staffing issues too overbearing to stay at one facility.

Visit to view the entire list of results. Or, learn more about Safe Staffing