Top 5 Challenges Facing Nursing in 2012

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media , November 15, 2011

Organizations can get more agile with staffing and scheduling and find creative ways to reduce cost while maximizing efficiency. Embrace change and flexibility to create the mobile, agile workforce healthcare organizations need to adapt to changing economic realities and increases in patient population.

At the same time, staffing budgets can't be viewed in isolation. There are direct links between nurse staffing and length of stay, patient mortality, readmissions, adverse events, fatigue-related errors, patient satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and turnover. This article examines the danger of considering the cost of nurse staffing without looking at everything else. It's important to understand the relationship between length of stay, unreimbursed never events, and nurse staffing to understand the whole picture.


I've said it before, but ignore retention at your peril. The nursing shortage hasn't gone away simply because the recession has eased its immediate effects. We all know the turnover rate for new graduate nurses is always high, so invest in nurse residency programs that have proven results for retention and for increasing the competency of new nurses.

Take a look at the five reasons nurses want to leave your hospital and see whether you're doing any of these.

Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at
1 | 2 | 3

Comments are moderated. Please be patient.

6 comments on "Top 5 Challenges Facing Nursing in 2012"

Dawn (6/7/2012 at 2:53 PM)
While the topics covered in this article may be hard to accept...accept them we must. This is the future of nursing. It is up to the bedside nurse to decide how to influence the mandates that are being encountered now and in the future. A recent article revealed that nursing is under represented in the health care reform process. That means business leaders, physicians, and politicians are deciding our practice. Unfortunately, we are letting them instead of letting them hear the voice of the 2.9 million nurses there are in the United States.

Ali RN (1/11/2012 at 9:14 PM)
This article was immensely offensive to bedside nursing. I am a BScN RN, and I think that if associate degree/diploma nurses want to get their full BSN, then great. If not, that's okay too. Experience is more valuable any day. All nurses are taught from day 1 about the patient experience. We all know that the patient's perception of health care can have a huge impact on the healing process. To imply that nurses do not understand this is insulting. To call us "rank and file" care givers is degrading. Nurses understand that the patient experience has nothing to do with "molly coddling" as you put it. If you want nurses to be involved in patient safety and held accountable, you need to start listening to us. We don't need to feel involved, we need to BE involved. We all understand about cost cutting, and that nurses are largest part of the budget. However, nurses also make up the largest population of health care workers are any given hospital. Agile staffing sounds to me like hiring more casuals, which means less experience on the ward when I need it. Although you might not have meant it, this article is very offensive to nurses.

SparrowRN (12/30/2011 at 6:48 PM)
Demand that nurses have at least a BSN if not an MSN and then preach to them about making patients happy and safe. Nurses cannot be told how to speak with scripting and to round every hour taking care of pain, position, and potty (be sure to use baby words with the BSN/MSN RNs) and then be expected to think critically. Either there is trust in RN judgement and ability or there isn't. If you want a responsible, critically thinking, compassionate nursing staff treat them as responsible, smart, caring people. Stop micro-managing. Share information, encourage nursing input, actually listen to them, and act upon nursing ideas. Stop soliciting RN input so the hospital can get Magnet status when in fact that input is routinely ignored. Finally stop preaching at all of us and fire the bad apples, including the bad apples in management. It is going to take a long time for health care management to remake their image and be the leaders they claim to be.




FREE e-Newsletters Join the Council Subscribe to HL magazine


100 Winners Circle Suite 300
Brentwood, TN 37027


About | Advertise | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Reprints/Permissions | Contact
© HealthLeaders Media 2016 a division of BLR All rights reserved.