Inadequate nurse staffing levels by experienced Registered Nurses (RNs) are linked to higher rates of patient falls, infections, medication errors, and even death. As a result of massive reductions in nursing budgets, combined with the challenges presented by a growing nursing shortage, fewer nurses work longer hours and care for sicker patients. This situation compromises care and contributes to the nursing shortage by creating an environment that drives nurses from the bedside. The purpose of this small exploratory master’s thesis research study, which employed Husserl and Heidegger’s approach of phenomenology, examined the experiences of acute care RNs who regularly maintain nurse-to-patient ratios of 1:5 or greater during a 12-hour shift, and the impact these ratios have on nurse satisfaction and retention at a small rural community hospital in North Carolina through a basic qualitative research methodology. Purposive sampling was utilized, and the inclusion criteria required the participants to have an active unencumbered RN license and work in one of the acute care units at the hospital. If the RNs held any managerial or supervisory role at the hospital, they were excluded from the study. Semi-structured interviews using open-ended questions were utilized to collect rich, contextual data until data saturation occurred. Open and axial coding of the data documented in a code/theme frequency table, facilitated the discovery of central themes within the data including: the current system at work, what if it goes wrong, working with others, things nurses must do, and things nurses feel. The evidence from this basic qualitative study aligns with the published literature regarding the higher nurse-to-patient staffing ratios and supports making a proposal to the hospital’s administration for creating a patient acuity score that allows for a nurse staffing grid based on acuity, to improve patient safety and nurse satisfaction and retention.
|School:||University of Mount Olive|
|School Location:||United States -- North Carolina|
|Source:||MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Medicine, Nursing, Occupational psychology, Health care management|
|Keywords:||Nurse retention, Nurse satisfaction, Nurse to patient ratio|
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