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Quality nursing care can enhance patient health outcomes. Because nursing is so closely linked to patient safety, nursing employees are a top priority for health care providers, governments, and the general public. In this regard, nurse scarcity is an issue that concerns stakeholders in the healthcare industry, prompting them to devise solutions. According to Chan, Lung, and Chau (2013), a lack of nurses is a major cause of a stressful working environment, which has significant implications for cost and patient safety. Patients are at danger of infection and treatment errors as a result of the enormous amount of work that nurses' shortage places on the staff. For organizations, this can translate to higher costs because they have to incur additional expenses for the interventions implemented to address the new issues. On their part, nursing personnel is at risk of stress and higher turnover rates. As a result, hospital management has to identify ways to deal with the problem to reduce the risks associated with it.
Hospitals can employ two strategies to help them address the challenge of nursing shortages. First, they need to increase retention rates in the health facilities by training nurses on emotional intelligence (Lartey, Cummings & Profetto-McGrath, 2014). It aids nurses to manage their own emotions at the same time showing empathy for those of peers and patients. The value of emotional intelligence lies in the creation of the ability of nurses to examine and differentiate the emotional reactions of others, which can help to establish a lasting nurse relationship. For nurses to develop emotional intelligence, they must undergo some training to help them grow the skills vital to its realization, such empathy, self-awareness, and motivation.
Second, the nurses’ shortage problem is to implement a team-building approach towards hospital duties. Clinical care remains a complicated and specialized area that drives nurses to try complex health interventions and learn new treatments. The nature of healthcare has also forced practitioners to use a multidisciplinary strategy to its delivery. Together, a team lowers the potential for medical errors and raises the level of patient safety because a team of qualified personnel coordinates care delivery as opposed to one person who can make mistakes in the treatment process. Such an approach would reduce some of the costs associated with medical errors.
Potential Barriers and Resistance to Change
Several barriers exist that can affect the implementation of these interventions. In the case of the emotional intelligence, workers may show resistance towards it because of the training they have to undergo. Nurses in most hospitals encounter high workloads arising from the number of patients they serve and the duties that they perform in the health facilities (Baethge, Muller & Rigotti, 2015). Heavy workloads can affect the willingness of the health professionals to participate in training programs. Nurses may find it difficult to complete their regular duties of treatment and patient care, such as giving medication, conducting ward rounds, changing bed linen, and cleaning patients, while at the same time attending the training workshops on emotional intelligence.
Another significant problem that a hospital’s management may encounter concerns the second evidence-based intervention of team-building. Building effective teams takes time and effort to achieve. Personality traits of individuals can enhance or hinder the ability to create the groups. For instance, people who are accustomed to working alone may fear that a team-building approach will affect the way they perform their duties. In addition, teamwork has the potential of conflicts, people relying on others to work, and discrimination against certain individuals. The problems can lead to reduced quality of care and greater risk of medical errors that affect patients' health outcomes. Such possibilities increase the risk that some workers may resist the implementation of a team approach to care delivery.
Strategies to Overcome Barriers and Resistance to Change
Health facilities can overcome the barriers and resistance to change through engagement with their nursing staff. Lozano (2013) argues that personnel involvement in leading change helps to foster a feeling of ownership and enhances cooperation. Nursing staff feels that it is a part of the change process motivating them to drive its success. Hospitals can also increase the willingness of nurses to participate in the change process by including their input, for instance, in the development of learning material for the training programs. In this way, a health facility portrays a sense of appreciation for the contribution of the nurses. The personnel feels that a health center values their inputs. Hospitals can also improve the willingness to engage in the change process by ensuring the availability of resources needed for its proper implementation. For example, a health facility should guarantee the presence of communication equipment to enhance communication.
Plan for Evidence-Based Interventions
Successful implementation of change requires careful planning. Areas that a health center should consider when undertaking this type of change are steps to implement change and resources needed to implement change. The steps to apply the changes should follow Kurt Lewin's Model of Change. He stresses three components of successful change implementation: unfreeze, change, and refreeze. In the unfreeze stage, the actions include informing the staff about the reasons for the modification, educating them on its aims, and seeking their input on what they consider essential to successful change implementation. It would also include addressing any concerns they have about the changes. The second stage is the actual change where the training and team-building efforts occur. In the refreezing stage, a hospital’s management should reinforce the lessons through rewards and recognition. Resources needed for the change to happen include pamphlets on emotional intelligence, people to implement the training programs, and space for the training.
Successful implementation of the change should include members of all departments in a health facility. As a result, the team tasked with the implementation of the modification should come from all the nursing units. Team leaders from all the nursing departments, such as the intensive care unit, emergency department, pediatrics, surgery, and other services in hospitals, should compose the team. The inclusion of these members in the team would help to spread the information on the changes within the hospital. Furthermore, it would make it easier to gather knowledge on the change process from the workers. The team leaders can speak to members of their respective units to collect information and tell them about the intended changes. They can then proceed to hold meetings where they can discuss the data they collect to enable them to develop an effective training program and team-building approach. As a result, they create an inclusive and informed strategy to drive change in a health facility.
Baethge, A., Muller, A. & Rigotti, T. (2015). Nursing performance under high workload: A diary study on the moderating role of selection, optimization and compensation strategies. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72 (3): 545-557.
Chan, C. Z., Lung, K. M. & Chau, W. C. (2013). A systematic literature review of nurse shortage and the intention to leave. Journal of Nursing Management, 21 (4): 605-613.
Lartey, S., Cummings, G. & Profetto-McGrath, J. (2014). Interventions that promote retention of experienced registered nurses in health care settings: A systematic review. Journal of Nursing Management, 22 (8): 1027-1041.
Lozano, R. (2013). Are companies planning their organizational changes for corporate sustainability? An analysis of three case studies on resistance to change and their strategies to overcome it. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 20 (5): 275-295.
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