How To Cope With Short Staffing In Nursing

How To Cope With Short Staffing In Nursing

An aging population, volume of work, workplace environment, and burnout are all factors that contribute to low staffing in practically every department in any healthcare institution.

All facilities are impacted, be it hospitals, private home-based care agencies, clinics, or nursing homes.

Even though legislative reforms and advances are necessary to address the chronic nurse shortage, hospitals can start implementing innovative and creative strategies to attract and keep nurses by coming up with realistic solutions.

Nursing leaders should set an example by implementing programs and strategies that will help to minimize the consequences of staffing shortages.

So, how can you deal with the growing nurse shortage?

The following are some options to consider when dealing with staffing shortages.

Make a List of Your Most Important Tasks

Examine your tasks and rank them from high priority to low priority.

Begin with the tasks that are most important to you.

Critical examinations and actions, for example, can be high-priority.

Next, take on medium-priority responsibilities, such as patient education.

Many low-priority tasks can be allocated to unlicensed aids, family members, or volunteers.

Encourage Teamwork


Make it a rule that no one is allowed to relax until everyone can relax.

If you accomplish your assignment ahead of schedule, help out a colleague.

Teamwork strengthens coworker ties, makes challenging situations bearable, and improves patient safety.

Make Good Use of Unlicensed Aids

Separate what can be delegated to unlicensed assistance workers and what can't, based on governing nursing regulations.

Aids can significantly ease the workload if they follow the proper protocol.

Recruit Extra Personnel

Engage non-nursing workers to help share the burden more equitably.

For example, the unit clerk can assist you in communicating with others.

Communicate Clearly

Communicate the strategy for managing the employee shortage clearly and effectively, so everyone is on the same page.

Ensure that all staff members' sentiments and dignity are respected.

Examine your personal communication style.

Don’t be negative or condescending when under pressure.

Everyone benefits from one other's support and kindness.

Keep Nursing Administration Informed and Involved

When staffing is insufficient, notify the nurse manager.

They'll be in a better position to summon employees, give overtime, reallocate nurses, offer incentives, or hire agency workers.

They could also be able to assist you in avoiding time-consuming demands.

Encourage Participation from the Entire Family

When relatives and significant others visit, inquire if they'd wish to offer support politely without revealing the staff deficit.

If they're willing, make recommendations like helping with meals.

Don't forget to thank them.

Look After Yourself

Attempt to take a breather from the caregiving duty throughout each shift, even if just for a few minutes.

If you cannot leave your station, take a break in a break room.

Eat a well-balanced diet and get adequate rest to avoid burnout.

Keep an Optimistic Mindset

It's all about how you think.

You may succeed tremendously if you approach a difficult problem with an optimistic and positive attitude.

A negative attitude, on the other hand, might pull the staff morale and performance down.

The use of positive affirmation is a crucial first step.

Assure yourself and the rest of the team that the situation is temporary and manageable under challenging conditions.

Use the opportunity to foster teamwork and accomplishment in the face of perceived difficulties.

A positive attitude and problem-solving ingenuity will develop into good habits over time.

Implement an Onboarding Program for New Nurses

According to various surveys, nurses who feel like they belong to a community at work tend to have high levels of satisfaction.

Community, nurse autonomy, and mentoring have been shown to lower employee turnover in nursing.

Making new nurses feel accommodated by implementing an onboarding program can also help with employee retention.

An effective onboarding program may help new nurses adjust to their new position and feel less overwhelmed during their first few months.

Incentivize Good Behavior

Give incentives to your nurses to encourage behaviors that should be seen in nurses.

Consider implementing a point system for nurses that rewards picking up unpopular shifts, learning a new skill, or working extra hours.

Points might be used to redeem unique prizes or assist nurses in increasing their salaries over time.

Having incentives helps in staffing even the most disliked shifts in ways that don't compromise nurse satisfaction.

Invest in Professional Development and Training


Nurses should be encouraged to upscale their skills with long-term training, education, and personal development if medical institutions wish to retain them.

According to various studies, institutions should aspire to provide nurses with lifelong learning experiences.

Nurses will need new knowledge, abilities, and life skills to advance into inventive and management roles.

Companies may give this training through online learning, self-tutorials, and workshops.

Instead of cramming all of the training within the first months after recruitment, which may be costly when a nurse departs, spacing out nurse training and implementing fun training experiences for senior nurses can save money and increase staff retention.

Encourage Nurses to Recruit New Staff and Compensate Them for Referrals

Nurses understand the terminology used by their fellow nurses, the challenges they face, and the concerns that matter to them the most.

Offering monetary compensation or other incentives for recommendations might motivate existing nurses in the workplace to recruit more nurses.

Provide Diverse Working Schedules to Meet Nurses' Personal Needs

Nurses often struggle to strike a balance between their work and personal life.

Administrators may help increase retention and recruitment by providing nurses with modified schedules that meet their professional and personal demands.

Nurses' particular requirements can be met by allowing them to choose between part-time, eight-hour, and 12-hour shifts.

More flexibility and freedom in choosing reporting times and shift lengths enable nurses to pick the alternatives that best suit their personal commitments, resulting in a healthier work-life balance and increased satisfaction, productivity, and wellbeing.