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Poor Patient Care due to Nursing Shortage Leading to Professional, Ethical and Legal Issues - Research Paper Example

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The research suggests that shortage in nurses are happening due to the steep population growth, a diminishing pipeline of new students to nursing, a decline in nurses’ earnings relative to other career options, an aging nursing workforce, low job satisfaction, and poor working conditions…
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Poor Patient Care due to Nursing Shortage Leading to Professional, Ethical and Legal Issues
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Download file to see previous pages This research will begin with the statement that in the healthcare setting, nurses are the important players in nourishing and rehabilitating an unhealthy, injured, diseased individual back to a normal and healthy individual, thereby enabling him/her to live a happy and successful life. The roles and duties of a nurse have also evolved with the changing face of nursing. Rather than becoming few, they have become many, with nurses increasingly taking up certain duties that were previously left to society. The development of nursing has also seen nurses evolve from general practitioners to highly specialized professionals, with areas of practice ranging from geriatric nursing to pediatric nursing. This has resulted in better patient care and higher patient survival rates. With the rapid development of human society and increasing health needs, this specialization across the nursing profession is bound to increase even more. However, there is another side to the above scenario. That is, due to the number of factors, there is sizable nursing shortage throughout the world including in the UK, and that is leading to poor patient care. Due to this shortage of nurses in healthcare settings, patients are put in a high risk condition, as they are not being given expected as well as adequate care leading to professional, ethical and legal issues Identification of the legal, professional and ethical issues A nurse will only “provide a structure of caring that can ultimately create an environment where… a patient can begin a transition from victim to survivor” (Johnston 2006). Thus, if the shortage of nurses accentuates, the ‘structure’ will collapse, leading to a lot of trouble and risks. Shortage of nurses is being witnessed in many UK hospitals in the past few years, thereby placing NHS in a peril state. A shortage is happening because many hospitals have placed a freeze on the recruitment of new nurses and also axing currently functioning nurses as well. “Many hospitals have been axing nursing posts or imposing recruitment freezes since 2005 and 2006, having racked up huge debts. Official figures show 5,964 nursing posts have been axed in the past two years. ” (Borland 2013). Shortage of nursing staff has a major detrimental impact on the quality of service of the hospital which directly impacts its reputation as well as on the hospital’s overall capacity to service (Buerhaus et al. 2007). More than the hospital’s image, the valuable lives of people are at stake. People come to a healthcare setting in an already compromised state, with both their physical as well as mental health in a will be in a weakened state. That is, as people visit hospitals, when their physical body is malfunctioning, diseased and injured, their physical strength and also their mental morale will be at an all-time low. Fig 1: (Borland 2013). Considering their state, it is of crucial importance for the healthcare professionals particularly nurses, as said above, to provide them with apt care and ‘nurse’ back to health. (Gosling and Mintzberg 2003). However, when there is the shortage of nurses, all the patients may not be given apt and equal care, also may not be given quick care or care in times of need, and even deficient care. When this happens, many worst-case scenarios arise. “Recent documents, including the infamous Francis Report, have exposed a catalog of failings in the NHS, where patients have been neglected, poorly observed and physically abused. Findings detailed how patients were left unwashed; unable to eat and drink due to lack of help, and overall poorly managed in their final hours of need.” (The City Times).  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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