Understaffing is a concerning issue in the healthcare industry. Some hospitals have an unbalanced medical staff-to-patient ratio. So, what causes this issue?
Here are three common causes:
1. Saving resources
Budget constraints are one of the reasons some hospitals hire fewer healthcare providers. A hospital may opt to work with a limited number of professionals to avoid spending high amounts on salaries and benefits. While this may seem logical, it can lead to costly impacts.
2. Burnout and turnover
When a hospital is understaffed, a healthcare professional may be forced to work more. For example, a nurse may have to work more shifts or a surgeon may have to perform more operations in a day. This can lead to burnout.
Some healthcare providers leave the medical industry due to burnout; they move to other fields or retire altogether. When this happens, the issue of understaffing typically worsens.
3. Shortage of professionals
The number of trained healthcare professionals is reducing as the years go by. There is a growing demand for professionals, but it outmatches the supply. Accordingly, a hospital may have a difficult time finding enough professionals. If such a hospital admits more patients than it can serve competently, problems can arise.
Consequences of understaffing in hospitals
Understaffing can cause medical malpractice. When a hospital has fewer healthcare providers, it can be impossible to provide all patients with quality care. For example, patients in the emergency room may have to wait longer to see a doctor, which can worsen their conditions.
Further, when a physician experiences burnout, they are likely to make errors, such as misdiagnosing a patient, giving a patient the wrong medication/dosage, performing surgery on the wrong patient, and so on.
If you or your loved one was injured in a hospital due to understaffing, learn more about your case to know your options and rights.