Healthcare organizations require policies and procedures to operate smoothly. Notably, organizational policies provide standards that guide daily activities. Therefore, policies clarify the roles of the staff, expected organizational outcomes, and promote the provision of quality care. However, competing needs hinder healthcare leaders from developing effective organizational policies. For instance, a policy might aim at promoting the affairs of the workforce but it might deprive the limited financial resources in a healthcare facility. As such, the competing needs might lead to confusion among healthcare leaders as they strive to develop policies amidst ethical dilemmas. The policy development process becomes lengthy, time consuming, and difficult.
The national healthcare issue I selected last week was the nursing shortage. Adoption of technology is one of the needs that compete with nursing shortage. Healthcare organizations are required to adopt healthcare information technology (HIT) to store and retrieve patient data easily. However, facilities might direct their limited finances to the implementation of HIT and ignore the need to have adequate nurse staffing levels. Besides, Zadvinskis, Smith, and Yen (2018) mentioned that the use of HIT could lead to clinical decision-making issues, altered care processes, and delayed care. Hence, HIT might actually worsen nursing shortage when nurses are forced many hours on documentation. Moreover, the need to contain costs in healthcare facilities could also compete with nursing shortage. For example, a facility wants to control costs by freezing hiring of nurses but ends up with a shortage and overworked nurses. Kelly and Porr (2018) claimed that overworked nurses are unable to practice evidence-based care due to lack of time and energy.
Zhu, Rodgers, and Melia (2018) recommended enabling nurses to balance their personal and professional lives to retain them in the organization. Nonetheless, retention strategies compete with the limited resources. Additionally, organizations might have competing needs between hiring additional nurses or physicians. Developing policies is one way of solving the needs that compete with increasing the number of nurses. An organizational policy would clarify the ideal nurse staffing levels to ensure that the management deals with nursing shortage even when there are competing needs including limited finances, HIT adoption, and hiring of physicians.
Kelly, P., & Porr, C. (2018). Ethical nursing care versus cost containment: Considerations to enhance RN practice. OJIN: Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 23(1), Manuscript 6. doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol23No01Man06
Zadvinskis, I. M., Smith, J.G., & Yen, P. Y. (2018). Nurses’ experience with health information technology: longitudinal qualitative study. JMIR Medical Informatics, 6(2), e38. https://doi.org/10.2196/medinform.8734
Zhu, J., Rodgers, S., & Melia, K.M. (2018). Understanding human resource wastage in the nursing shortage: Lessons learned from Chinese nurses leaving nursing practice. Athens Journal of Health, 5(3), 195-212. https://doi.org/10.30958/ajh.5-3-2