A new HealthDay/Harris Poll demonstrates that the nationwide scarcity of health care professionals — the so-called “Great Resignation” of providers — is harming patient care in both large and minor ways.
As per US News, one-fourth of Americans (25%) have observed or personally experienced the effects of staffing shortages in the health care industry, second only to staff shortages in the retail sector (35%), according to a survey.
In addition, more than two-thirds (68%) of persons who needed health care in the preceding six months reported delays or obstacles in receiving it. More than half (57%) attributed the lack of care to personnel constraints, and experts told HealthDay Now that these individuals are correct.
After three years of the pandemic, nurses, doctors, and other health care workers are exhausted, and some are opting to leave the field, according to experts.
Kelly Morgan, a labor and delivery nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and president of the Massachusetts Nursing Association, stated, “We were the frontline.” “We were the individuals combating this pandemic, and we were exposed daily. The persistent stress and mental and physical exhaustion that accompany this are, in essence, the causes of post-traumatic stress disorder in this context.
Morgan told HealthDay Now that, as a result, morale has declined, and employees are leaving the organization. Morgan remarked that in a number of hospitals, individuals felt as though they were “thrown to the wolves” and not provided with the required resources — personal protective equipment, for example. “And it has not altered in three years. Our nurse vacancies are enormous.
Morgan said, “They’re saying, I don’t want to do this anymore.” “I no longer wish to perform bedside nursing. I’m leaving the bedside to work in an ambulatory clinic, or I’m leaving nursing as a career altogether because this is not what it was like to be a nurse in the past.”
The departure of physicians and nurses has a direct impact on patients’ capacity to obtain care, particularly in rural areas, according to Brock Slabach, chief operations officer of the National Rural Health Association.
“This constellation of provider shortages has caused enormous gaps in rural hospitals’ ability to effectively serve their communities,” Slabach told HealthDay Now.
According to Slabach, who has more than 21 years of experience as a rural hospital administrator, “the hospitals have reduced their capacity to admit patients and offer care.” “Rather than having 25 available beds, they may only have 10 because they can adequately staff 10 beds.” Then, it is possible that patients will be stacked in the emergency room.”
Morgan added that people are arriving at the hospital sicker, with health concerns that may have been prevented with quick treatment. Morgan stated, “It has seeped down to every single discipline.” “It has just stalled the care delivery system, which is why so many people are seeking primary care in the emergency room: they cannot access the services.”
Morgan stated that a patient with COVID could avoid the ER if they received a rapid diagnosis and prompt access to antiviral medications.
Morgan stated, “But they didn’t, and here they are three weeks later with COVID pneumonia requiring breathing support and hospitalization.” Morgan stated that the American health care system would need to give stronger support to its employees if it wishes to restore capacity. Morgan stated, “We do not require adulation every day.”
“We are not requesting that. We are requesting the required staffing, equipment, space, and resources to care for our patients safely on a daily basis and to continue providing them with the same level of care that we have always been able to deliver.
As things currently stand, Morgan is concerned that overworked physicians and nurses are offering subpar treatment to patients. Morgan stated, “I’m sure there are days when folks aren’t as cheery or caring as they usually are, despite our best efforts not to convey this message to our patients.”
Morgan stated, “I’ve always seen myself as quite fortunate, wondering how I’m so fortunate to be able to do this for a job.” In the past two and a half years, I have not had many days like this.
And it is discouraging. Because a nurse enters the profession because they wish to assist and care for others, they wish to nourish and heal individuals. And it has not appeared that we have accomplished that.”