Dealing with the nurse shortage

The global healthcare ecosystem is in a midst of a challenging cycle. The pandemic has exposed hospitals that have urgent needs to address the nurse shortage. Nurses have become increasingly mentally and physically drained throughout the COVID- 19 pandemic, but these issues were rampant prior to 2020. Nurses are leaving the industry because they are overworked, unappreciated, and burnt out. They are invisible. Travelling nurses are filling the gap and hospitals are implementing leaner models of staffing, finding it more profitable to cycle through traveling nurses and leave full-time positions unfilled due to the high cost of benefits and the desirability of being able to change staffing levels at will. In the US alone, staffing shortages have cost hospitals an estimated $24 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To maintain the highest standards of care and ensure that the health of patients’ does not deteriorate while in the hospital, we need to find a better way to monitor the vital signs of patients despite these staffing shortages. Unfortunately, research has shown that vital signs aren’t consistently assessed, recorded, or interpreted, which interferes with appropriate and timely interventions for deteriorating patients. The ability to assess the health status of a patient continuously ultimately enables nurses to educate and support their patients with more time spent communicating with patient and co-workers and reallocating their time to address other more valuable responsibilities.

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