The access to quality healthcare is at risk due to the healthcare workforce shortages. The shortages include all members of the hospital work staff from nurses to primary care physicians to highly trained surgeons. Many hospitals do not have enough nurses to tend to the patients.
There are other issues that add to the shortages of nurses in the healthcare workforce. Such as; insufficient staffing which is raising the stress level of nurses, impacting job satisfaction, and driving many nurses to leave the profession. The high turnover and vacancy rates have an impact on healthcare. Insufficient nurse staffing is related to higher patient mortality rates. The mortality risk for patients was about 6% higher on units that were understaffed as compared with fully staffed units. (Clark) The mortality risks also increases when the nurse’s workload increased due to high patient turnover. Nurses often need to work long hours under stressful conditions, which can result in fatigue, injury, and job dissatisfaction. Nurses that work long hours are prone to making mistakes and medical errors. Patient quality can suffer. The ratio of nurses to patients is important. Patients are real satisfied with their care and have better post surgery survival odds in facilities where nurses rate the nursing environment as good, with admiration to nurse-physician relationships, support, and nurse-patient ratios.
There also are not enough surgeons on call to staff the emergency rooms. Experts predict that two of every five rural hospitals may have to close because they are not able to staff their surgery departments. ("American College of Surgeons") As our population ages the number of people needing an operation is growing rapidly every year, yet there are fewer surgeons to meet that demand. The risk is increasing that patients may not be able to find a surgeon when needed.