Layoffs in Hospitals can affect patient care. Today’s expanded healthcare environment requires nurses to provide high quality care to achieve best patient outcomes and satisfaction, but also the healthcare system is required to reduce costs provided on healthcare at the same time. One of the ways to reduce cost in hospitals is to layoff the personnel; Urn’s, Alp’s, I-JARS, and transporters. Nurses are experiencing higher workloads than ever before due to (… ) reduced staffing and increased overtime” (Crayon & Surges, 2008, p. ), and that may negatively lead to issues with patient safety and nursing Job satisfaction. “The healthcare sector saw the biggest layoffs, cutting 6,843 employees, the largest monthly amount for the sector since November 2009″(Planned layoffs drop in July; defense health care suffer, Gauge 2013), so let’s think how it might affect the nurses left alone with more work without assisted personnel.
Numerous nursing tasks need to be performed during a shift and now they are also “expected to perform nonprofessional tasks such as delivering and retrieving food trays; housekeeping duties; transporting patients; and ordering, coordinating; or to performing ancillary services” (Crayon & Surges, 2008, p. L). Instead of spending the time on the care of patients the nurse has to perform duties unbound with her professional duties.
The shift has only 12 hours and the nurse has to evaluate those patients, take vital signs, give medications, draw blood, complete documentation, and they also needs a break. Heavy workload is one of the stresses in the nursing world and can lead to distress and burnout “Nurses experiencing stress and burnout may not be able to reform efficiently and effectively because their physical and cognitive resources may be reduced; this suboptimal performance may affect patient care and its safety’ (Crayon & Surges, 2008, p. 4).
According to Clarion nurse layoffs in hospitals “takes well-educated and trained staff from the bedside, which can lead to longer hospital stays, raise mortality and infection rates, a decrease on patient outcomes and increase in the readmission rate of patients back into acute care” (Clarion, 2013). When the nurse is frequently overworked and under time reassure the nurse may not have time to follow rules and guidelines for safe care “High workload in the form of time pressure may reduce the attention devoted by a nurse to safety-critical tasks, thus creating conditions for errors and unsafe patient care” (Crayon & Surges, 2008, p. ). There is strong evidence in the literature that nurse staffing levels significantly affect several nursing-sensitive patient outcomes. According to Crayon & Surges several studies found a significant relation between lower nurse staffing and higher rates of pneumonia among surgical patients. Some evidence exists regarding the impact of nurse staffing levels on failure to rescue and mortality “In a study of 168 nonpareil adult general hospitals was associated with a 7 percent increase in the likelihood of mortality within 30 days of admission and in the likelihood of failure to rescue” (Crayon & Surges, 2008, p. 3).
According to Passkey layoffs in hospitals may result in lowering patient care and the patients are going to end up suffering for it. They are going to have less nurses that will be taking care of more patients and the patients are going to get less care (Passkey, May 2013). But not everyone agrees with that, the hospitals are being increasingly squeezed by government cuts and reduced consumer spending “Health care experts attribute the Job reductions to a raft of potential hardships that hospital will face as the Affordable Care Act is implemented, along with other financial pressures on health system nationwide” (Doyle, June 2013).
The health care experts suggest that the hospitals need to be thinking more comprehensively about their approach to care, how to keep patients out of hospitals and, when they are hospitalized, how to discharge patients so that they remain out of hospitals. In other words the hospital may not need that many personnel if the patient hospitalizing remains short. The experts want the “health care system to be more patient-centric, where people have the knowledge and information to participate in their own health care decisions as a partner in their health care” (Doyle, June 2012) and that may correlate with better outcomes and satisfaction.
I have been working as RAN for many years in hospitals, and I personally believe that the priority is to ensure that there is enough nursing staff to provide exceptional care to every patient. Ignoring nurses’ aerosols or shortages might lead in serious consequences. “Job dissatisfaction of nurses can lead to low morale, absenteeism, turnover, and poor Job performance, and potentially threaten patient care quality and organizational effectiveness (Crayon & Surges, 2008, p. 4).