What it will take to fix the nurse staffing crisis: Report 

Nurse staffing challenges at healthcare organizations have a significant effect on care delivery, patient safety and the viability of organizations, according to the Nurse Staffing Task Force's May 10 report.

"This crisis is not a nursing problem; it is a healthcare system problem," Connie Barden, MSN, RN, chief clinical officer of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, told Becker's. "Inappropriate staffing endangers patients, nurses and the entire health delivery system."

Partners for Nurse Staffing launched a two-prong project in early 2022 to bring together leaders from several healthcare organizations. The worked together to make suggestions on how to fix the nursing challenges. The group created the Partners for Nurse Staffing Think Tank with representatives from the AACN, the American Nurses Association, the American Organization of Nursing Leadership, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

The think tank's recommendations, Priority Topics and Recommendations, published in April 2022, focused on strategies that could be implemented in 12 to 18 months. 

These served as a prelude to a more comprehensive project to be tackled by the Nurse Staffing Task Force. Members of the task force have been meeting virtually to consider "longer-term sustainable solutions to address the ongoing challenges that generate inappropriate staffing in acute and critical care," Ms. Barden said. 

One result of those task force meetings was the report, which includes specific imperatives and myriad actionable recommendations, is set to be discussed at the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses conference in Philadelphia on May 23.

The five key imperatives identified by the task force are reforming the work environment, innovating models for care delivery, establishing staffing standards that ensure quality care, improving regulatory efficiency and discovering ways to better value the contributions of nurses.

"Moving the needle on nurse staffing is certainly the intent of this work, and we are confident that engaged conversations by nurses and healthcare leaders around these imperatives will help us continue that journey," Ms. Barden said. 

Some recommended actions, based on the identified imperatives, include overhauling and modernizing delivery care models, empowering nurses to have a seat at the table when it comes to creating sustainable flexible staffing strategies, advocating for legislation that would maintain minimum staffing standards, making licensure processes more efficient and removing barriers to full scope practice for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and advanced practice registered nurses.

"Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the recommendations offer an array of actions that nurses and their colleagues can consider depending on the circumstances in their unit, department, organization, healthcare system and state," Ms. Barden said. "Because the document is inclusive of diverse expertise, we labeled the actions as 'actions to consider' so that nurses and other healthcare leaders can identify the steps that fit the environments in which they work."

View all of the Nurse Staffing Task Force's recommendations here

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