JCAHO Report on Nursing Shortage Should Serve as Basis To Attract More Nurses to Hospitals, Editorial States
"More people will go into nursing, and chose a hospital setting, when the pay and respect they find at work equals their commitment to patient care as a meaningful career," according to a San Jose Mercury News editorial. Nurses have long complained that hospitals have reduced staffing levels "too sharply," leading to poor patient care. A Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations report that examined the nursing shortage and its effect on patient care issued earlier this month confirmed that view, finding that 24% of adverse patient outcomes at hospitals are related to inadequate staffing levels. The low staffing levels, coupled with perceived low salaries and lack of respect, have prompted many nurses to leave hospital work and have discouraged others from seeking a career in nursing. To combat the shortage, the report called on hospitals to increase staffing levels, revamp training systems and "[c]reate organizational cultures of retention." The Mercury News states, "That means hospitals must become places where highly trained, intelligent, caring people really want to work." Part of creating that culture is "ensur[ing] that nurses get the respect they deserve, particularly from physicians," the editorial adds, saying that registered nurses "need the authority that goes along with their level of training and their great responsibility," and they "must be viewed as equals, not subordinates." If hospitals carry out such reforms, they would become "attractive places to work" again, the editorial concludes (San Jose Mercury News, 8/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.