It’s been a busy decade in the ER with emergency room visits rising an incredible 25 % while the number of emergency rooms has decreased by about 15 %. There has been a dramatically rising pressure on the emergency rooms of the US. That pressure is coupled with a nursing shortage that is only getting more critical.

Further, it’s no secret that there is a real shortage in the entire healthcare work force. That means that the access to good specialists and primary care facilities is not always guaranteed. This is a part of what makes visits to the ER more prolific. The problem is that very often safety and security are compromised in the ER visit due to a staff shortage. Customer satisfaction in the Emergency department visit is certainly not at an all-time high.

The JCAHO—Joint Commission on Accreditations of Healthcare Organizations—reported a few years ago that more than126 thousand necessary nursing positions were unfilled in hospitals alone. The number of nursing professionals employed in hospitals actually decreased by 7 percent over a period between 2005 and 2010, while the number of nursing professionals being employed actually increased. The problem was that they were taking employment in community health or in ambulatory care.

The critical nursing shortage is showing itself and compounding problems in many areas of the hospital, but none are more pronounced than those areas that require the skills and expertise of highly trained and highly qualified nursing leaders. These areas include places such as the operating rooms, intensive care units and the emergency departments. It’s a given that the ER, the OR and other critical care areas are being adversely affected by the nursing shortage.

The question is, what is to blame for that shortage and how do we address it in order to effect positive change in the OR and ER safety and quality of care?

Our next segment will explore the depth and breadth of the nursing shortage and why it is so critical. We will also discuss how this shortage affects patient satisfaction and quality of care in the Emergency room.

Mitch Robbins is an expert as it relates to Interim and Direct Hire Nursing Leadership Recruitment for hospitals and clinics, helping organizations build best in class clinical leadership teams in the USA.

Learn to how to STOP losing your best nurses, IMPROVE your patient outcomes and DECREASE your staffing costs with special guest LeAnn Thieman. Download the free webinar transcript with LeAnn, Hall of Fame Speaker, Nurse, and Co-Author of the book Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul. Download your free copy here.

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