Healthcare staffs' perception of staffing adequacy




Nelson, Beverly Anne

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Nurse staffing is a consistent concern due to the shortage of nurses, financial constraints in healthcare and increased public concern for patient safety. Little qualitative nursing literature exists regarding how healthcare staff perceives and experience staffing adequacy. Such knowledge is potentially useful to nurse leaders and organizations as strategies and practices to retain nurses are developed. A phenomenologic study was conducted to develop a description of how healthcare staff perceive staffing adequacy in the context of caring for patients at the bedside. A purposive sample of ten registered nurses, five associate directors and five nursing assistants employed in an urban, not-forprofit, teaching hospital in a southwestern city were interviewed. Audio taped, semistructured interviews were conducted, transcribed verbatim and analyzed. Participants described a phenomenon in which perceived inadequate staffing triggered responses influencing approaches to patient care delivery and personal effects outside the work environment. Participants used varying approaches to managing such shifts and their aftermath. Factors and resources perceived as barriers or facilitators to accomplishing the work on inadequately staffed shifts were described. Limitations of this study include the small sample size and use of a specialized oncology setting. These findings suggest the need for further study in other settings.



Nurse staffing, Health and environmental sciences, Perception of staffing, Short staffing, Staffing, Staffing adequacy