Being a leader in the healthcare industry is very taxing, as many difficult decisions must be made, and numerous competing needs must be met. Healthcare is a business, and the bottom line must be met so the business can continue to run. However, healthcare is so much more than just a business; it is where people turn when they need healing. More often than not, the bottom line and the healing of patients do not run the same course. This means that leaders are left with a choice to make, knowing that at least one need will not be met. These differing needs often affect policy, and when needs are unmet, it can lead to problems such as nurse burnout.
The Effect of Competing Needs on Policy
The effect of competing needs on policy can be seen clearly in many standardized clinical pathways, where patient care is often jeopardized with a standardized approach to care (Kelly & Porr, 2018). These standardized clinical pathways are often inflexible and do not allow for personalized care that will best meet the patient’s needs (Kelly & Porr, 2018). Administrator’s priorities when constructing new policies are often different than those implementing the policies and coming into direct contact with patients. As there are so many needs in healthcare that must be met, it is next to impossible for leaders to make decisions and construct policies that will meet all needs. With that being said, leaders must clearly communicate and explain the reasoning behind decision-making to help those whose needs have not been met understand the choices made (Laureate Education, 2009). If these choices are not clearly communicated, then the repercussions of not meeting all needs can be much more consequential.
The Effect of Competing Needs on Nurse Burnout
Unmet needs in the healthcare industry can have many negative consequences. One of these consequences is nurse burnout. Leaders in healthcare typically prioritize the needs of the organization’s budget and patient outcomes. These priorities often overshadow the needs of the workforce. When nurses’ needs are not being prioritized and addressed, it can contribute to nurse burnout. Inadequate staffing is often a result of financial restrictions that have been prioritized over maintaining adequate staffing ratios. This leads to nurses being overworked, which is a component of nurse burnout (Brown et al., 2018). There are currently fourteen states that have laws and regulations in place that address nurse staffing (American Nurses Association [ANA], 2019). Healthcare organizations should have specific nurse staffing policies in place and ensure that they are strictly followed. This is not just important to prevent nurse burnout, but adequate staffing helps improve patient outcomes. Safe staffing ratios should be prioritized as it will help meet more than one of the competing needs that are seen in the healthcare industry.
American Nurses Association. (2019). Nurse staffing advocacy. https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nurse-staffing/nurse-staffing-advocacy/
Brown, S., Whichello, R., & Price, S. (2018). The impact of resiliency on nurse burnout: An integrative literature review. Medsurg Nursing, 27(6). https://web-b-ebscohost-com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=11&sid=ef9c2b5f-a5cc-4dfe-8116-de60692fca86%40pdc-v-sessmgr01
Kelly, P., & Porr, C. (2018). Ethical nursing care versus cost containment: Considerations to enhance rn practice. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.3912/OJIN.Vol23No01Man06
Laureate Education. (2009). Working with individuals [Video]. Baltimore, MD: Author.