Nursing shortages can have a negative impact on both the health care industry and the patients it serves.
Nursing shortages can have a negative impact on both the health care industry and the patients it serves.

Hospital beds and equipment are necessary to meet the health needs of Americans, but medical facilities won’t do much good without healthcare workers to staff them. Unfortunately, staffing issues in the healthcare industry are a growing problem in the US.

Over 1,000 hospitals across the US are currently facing critical shortages of staff, according to numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These hospitals comprise approximately 18% of all medical facilities that report their employee status to the HHS, and that number is expected to grow.

This isn’t a new problem, however. Healthcare staffing shortage concerns have been an ongoing issue for over a decade and are feared to be a worsening problem if something is not done quickly to address the challenge.

According to consulting firm Mercer, a shortage of over 400,000 home health workers and 29,400 nurses is expected by 2025, along with shortages in other professions in the industry.

But the solution to this problem is not an easy one. Health care workers must be adequately trained, which takes a lot of time and resources to accomplish. It’s not as simple as hiring people and allowing them to report for duty shortly after.

So now the question is, how do health care staffing shortages affect your family?

Lower Patient Satisfaction

With fewer nurses on the job, patients are having a poor experience in hospitals. Heavy workloads are causing nurses to become both emotionally and physically exhausted, which can, in turn, impact the type of care they can provide to patients.

According to recent stats compiled by the Department for Professional Employees, patients are less likely to recommend a medical facility where nurses work longer shifts compared to patients in hospitals with shorter shift lengths.

Worse Patient Outcomes

Overworked nurses trying to accommodate for shortages in the industry can affect patient outcomes. Fewer nurses on shift is associated with higher levels of burnout, which can increase the chances of infections and other issues in hospitals.

Even short bouts of exposure to short-staffed hospitals can negatively affect patients and can even increase the risk of death in critically ill patients. For instance, those recovering from cardiac arrest in hospitals have a 16% lower chance of survival in hospitals with poor work environments.

Doctor smiling at female patient
Trying to save on expenses by scaling back on staff can actually increase costs in the health care industry with poorer patient outcomes.

Higher Costs

Nursing is a big cost for hospitals, but lack of adequate staff can actually cost the industry more than necessary. With ample nursing staff, hospitals can save money. In fact, skimping on spending can actually cost a hospital more. By improving the outcome of patients and lowering infections and other complications, hospitals can realize significant cost savings and productivity over the long run.

But as hospitals spend more to accommodate for negative patient outcomes, these costs may be passed on to the consumer.

Health Care Sharing Can Help Patients Keep More Money in Their Pockets

While the cost of medical care and health insurance may be very expensive, Americans have other avenues to consider to ensure they’re not spending any more on healthcare costs than necessary. Health sharing ministries offer Americans a more affordable alternative to traditional insurance policies. In fact, these ministries can be as much as 30% to 40% less costly than typical health insurance premiums. If you’re looking to save on health care without having to sacrifice on quality, get in touch with a representative from USHealthShare to discuss your options and learn how to share the health.