4000 assessment 4 - Analyze a Current Health Care Problem or Issue

Analyze a Current Health Care Problem or Issue


Capella University NHS4000: Developing a Health Care Perspective 



Analyze a Current Health Care Problem or Issue

Staffing shortages as Current Healthcare Problem / Issue

Healthcare staffing gaps are a widespread problem that has a big effect on how well patients are cared for, how well employees are cared for, and how well organizations work. These gaps include a lack of nurses, doctors, and support staff in a wide range of healthcare situations, from hospitals to community health centers. According to Marc et al., (2019) changing populations, workers leaving or retiring, problems with education and training, stressful situations at work, and limited budgets are some of the things that contribute to this problem. Zhang et al. (2020) asserts that these gaps regularly cause longer wait times for patients, lower standard care, more stress among current staff, and higher dropout rates within healthcare groups. As a result, patients have to wait longer for care and may not be safe, employees are more stressed and more likely to burn out, and businesses deal with less efficiency and higher costs. To fix these gaps, we need a complete plan that includes hiring more people, making workplaces better, streamlining work processes, and helping healthcare workers keep learning and growing.

Elements of the problem/ issue

Healthcare worker gaps are still a big problem. Recently published academic papers have looked into different aspects of this problem, showing how complicated it is. Griffiths et al.’s (2021) study was about nurse hiring methods and how cost-effective they are at filling gaps in hospital staffing. Agent-based simulations were used in their study to compare hiring plans based on changes in patient demand and the use of casual staff. Findings showed that having more staff at the start is important for better patient outcomes and that plans that depend on fluid deployment are not very useful. Additionally, Xu et al. (2020) did a relevant study on hiring gaps in care homes during the COVID-19 outbreak. By looking at self-reported statistics from 11,920 nursing homes, the writers found that there were major staffing gaps in many areas, especially for registered nurses and nurse managers. There were fewer shortages in states where COVID-19 harmed workers or people, but fewer shortages in states where there were enough PPE supplies. The study showed that things related to the pandemic made it harder to hire people, which could put infection control and the quality of care in general at risk.

Winter et al. (2020) study looked into what makes German hospitals lack staff, especially how environmental and management factors are connected to poor staffing. They used poll data from 104 hospitals and regression models to find strong links between these factors and the gaps that were found. Notably, the study found that hiring measures and rates were not always the same. This made theories less certain and brought attention to how gaps in care can affect patients’ happiness. A lot of different studies have shown that hiring gaps are difficult problems that happen in many hospital settings. To give patients the best care and protect healthcare workers’ health, it is important to fix staffing problems right away. These studies look at a variety of topics, such as how to best staff hospitals for nurses, the problems that come up during pandemics in nursing homes, and the environmental factors that cause staffing shortages in German hospitals.


Staffing shortages are a problem in many areas of healthcare, including hospitals, long-term care centers, and nursing homes. This problem is very important because it has a direct effect on the standard of care for patients, the health and happiness of healthcare workers, and the effectiveness of the organization (Zhang et al., 2020). This issue is important because it has a direct effect on the level of care that people and the community as a whole receive. It has an impact on many people in healthcare situations, such as patients, healthcare workers, managers, and the public at large.

Staffing gaps have a big effect on patients, who have to wait longer for care, get lower standard care because resources are stretched thin, and may be at higher risk for health problems. People may have to wait longer to get care in emergency rooms when there are not enough nurses, which can make their situation worse or cause them more pain. In addition, people who work in health care, like nurses and helpers, have to deal with the breaks the most. Having to cope with more work, stress, and fatigue might hinder their capacity to provide the best treatment (Zhang et al., 2020). Lack of personnel in nursing homes might compromise the quality of care and health services provided to residents. Regrettably, these problems affect not just health but also the way organizations operate. Inadequate staffing levels in healthcare facilities may lead to higher costs associated with temporary workers, increased staff turnover, and potential fines for failing to satisfy quality requirements. From the well-being of healthcare providers and their employees to the bottom lines of healthcare organizations, this issue affects every facet of healthcare.

Potential Solutions in reducing staffing shortages

There are still a lot of approaches that may be used to address the significant issue of healthcare staffing shortages. There are a number of possible answers to this problem, and each one needs a different set of steps to be taken to make it happen. recruiting and retention programs are very important (McGarry et al., 2020). To get and keep skilled healthcare workers, you need aggressive recruiting pushes, fair pay rates, and chances to move up in your job. At the same time, it is important to make the workplaces better by building welcoming settings, limiting tasks to prevent burnout, and starting mentoring programs to put staff health first. In order for these ideas to be put into action, everyone involved in the healthcare system must work together, including lawmakers, managers, educational institutions, and healthcare workers. To make these tactics work, you need to make investments in money, change policies, and commit to creating safe and supportive workplaces.

Failure to address this issue may result in compromised patient safety, increased occurrence of medical errors, and diminished quality of treatment. It could also make healthcare workers even more burned out, increase unemployment rates, and put a financial strain on healthcare institutions by making them rely more on casual staff. According to McGarry et al.(2020) when one looks at employment tactics as a possible answer, one can see both their pros and cons. On the plus side, successful employment drives could help right away by filling short-term gaps in staff and possibly attracting a wide range of skilled workers, which would lead to better patient care and results. These programs, on the other hand, cost a lot of money, might only work temporarily without fixing underlying problems, and it can be hard to find skilled workers.

When putting employment plans into action, you need to find a mix between short-term fixes and long-term solutions. It is important to combine efforts to hire new people with programs to keep current employees, training, and organizational changes to make a complete answer that not only fills immediate gaps but also fixes the underlying problems that lead to staffing shortages in healthcare.

Ethical Principles

Ethical concerns must come first when adopting methods to deal with healthcare staffing gaps. When coming up with and implementing these tactics, the ethical concepts of beneficence, nonmaleficence, liberty, and justice serve as guides. Several ethics issues need to be thought about in order for suggested answers to work. Because beneficence is based on doing things that are good for both patients and healthcare workers, it is important to make sure that patient safety and great care come first, while also taking care of the well-being of healthcare workers. For example, Griffiths et al.’s (2021) study on nurse staffing focuses on the link between more staff and better patient results. This is in line with the ethical concept of beneficence because the goal is to improve patient care through proper staffing.

Nonmaleficence, or the duty not to hurt others, is very important. Staffing problems must not be fixed in a way that makes employees too busy, lowers the level of care, or raises patient risks. The research by Xu et al. (2020) into nursing home shortages during COVID-19 shows that shortages do a lot of damage, especially to facilities that have to deal with patients or staff who are affected. The moral concept of nonmaleficence says that we should take steps to stop bad things from happening. Respecting people’s right to make their own choices, which is called autonomy, is very important for healthcare workers. Giving healthcare workers the freedom to make their own decisions about their work settings and patient care gives them more power. Winter et al.’s (2020) study on staff gaps in German hospitals shows that good working conditions have a positive effect on patient happiness. This shows the connection between staff freedom, liberty, and the quality of patient care.

Justice, which means making sure that resources and chances are shared fairly, is very important. Ethical methods should try to make sure that all healthcare workers have the same chances to get training, advance in their careers, and get perks. The research by Fagefors et al. (2020) on healthcare capacity management shows that there are differences in the number of staff working in different healthcare units. This shows how important justice is for making sure that everyone has the same access to help in different places. To make a healthcare setting that values ethics and successful hiring measures, it is important to find a balance between these ethical principles when putting ideas into action. Putting ethical concerns first makes sure that offered solutions not only deal with shortages but also protect patient safety, care quality, staff well-being, and fairness across all healthcare situations.


Lack of healthcare workers causes major problems in all situations. Solutions include hiring more people, making the workplace better, and giving people ongoing training. If this problem is ignored, it could hurt the health and safety of patients and workers. The ethical concepts of justice, autonomy, nonmaleficence, and beneficence guide answers, making sure that patients are safe, staff liberty is respected, and fairness is promoted. Policymakers, managers, trainers, and healthcare workers must work together to make things better. Including moral concerns in multiple solutions can help with hiring gaps, improve patient care, assist staff, and keep healthcare effective even when staffing is limited.

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Fagefors, C., Lantz, B., & Rosén, P. (2020). Creating short-term volume flexibility in healthcare capacity management. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(22), 8514. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228514

Griffiths, P., Saville, C., Ball, J. E., Jones, J., Monks, T., & Safer Nursing Care Tool study team. (2021). Beyond ratios-flexible and resilient nurse staffing options to deliver cost-effective hospital care and address staff shortages: A simulation and economic modelling study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 117, 103901.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2021.103901

Marc, M., Bartosiewicz, A., Burzyńska, J., Chmiel, Z., & Januszewicz, P. (2019). A nursing shortage–a prospect of global and local policies. International nursing review, 66(1), 9-16. https://doi.org/10.1111/inr.12473

McGarry, B. E., Grabowski, D. C., & Barnett, M. L. (2020). Severe staffing and personal protective equipment shortages faced by nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic: study examines staffing and personal protective equipment shortages faced by nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health affairs, 39(10), 1812-1821. https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2020.01269

 Winter, V., Schreyögg, J., & Thiel, A. (2020). Hospital staff shortages: Environmental and organizational determinants and implications for patient satisfaction. Health Policy, 124(4), 380-388. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthpol.2020.01.001

Xu, H., Intrator, O., & Bowblis, J. R. (2020). Shortages of staff in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic: what are the driving factors?. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 21(10), 1371-1377. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2020.08.002

Zhang, X., Lin, D., Pforsich, H., & Lin, V. W. (2020). Physician workforce in the United States of America: forecasting nationwide shortages. Human resources for health, 18(1), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12960-020-0448-3

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