Capstone Topic Selection and Approval

Anita, Oguh

Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Arizona

Professional Capstone Project


July 17, 2019

Capstone Project Evidence-Based Practice Topic Proposal

The problem

“The effect of inadequate nurse staffing on patient care” The writer was prompted to write on this topic because inadequate Nurse staffing is one of the main problems facing the nursing sector. most healthcare facilities have a limited number of nurses hence overwhelming the few nurses that are supposed to attend a relatively high number of patients. Inadequate nurse staffing is a major problem that needs to be addressed because overworking nurses has serious consequences for instance increased errors that affects patients negatively (Buerhaus, et al., 2007). The nurses are also negatively affected psychologically due to fatigue and stress, and other aspects of being which include emotional and physical. Nurses need a healthy working environment which includes being allocated adequate and sensible amount of task (Cox, Willis, & Coustasse, 2014). Such an environment makes them to handle patients with care and remain motivated all through the working shift.

The setting

To understand the impact of a healthcare facility where nurses are understaffed, examples of the healthcare facility can be a hospitals, nursing homes, mental health facilities, outpatient clinics, home health, correctional facilities etc. it is important to observe from how the nurses address patients and respond to issues brought to their attention (Lee, Blegen, & Harrington, 2014). Where nurses are limited and there is a lot of work to be done, limited or no attention is granted to some issues. The nurses also seem less motivated, stressed, and they feel that the patients are a bother to them instead of them being passionate and caring towards the patients (Aiken, et al., 2018). Overworked nurses also seem to be disorganized as it is hard to plan and prioritize activities in a working environment where there is excess work to be handled and more work keeps on being added in the course of working (Cox, Willis, & Coustasse, 2014). Moreover, by the end of working shift, there are a lot that is left unattended to hence making it hard for the incoming nurse to understand exactly where to pick from (Clarke, & Donaldson, 2008). This is not ignoring the fact that whenever there is nurse staffing issues, working shifts are prolonged.

Problem description

Nurse staffing is the act of having a limited or inadequate number of nurses within a healthcare facility. This is to mean that a single nurse is allocated much more duties that it is legally and professionally recommended (Cho, et al., 2015). Nurse staffing is a problem allowed by the healthcare organization to take place. the latter is in the sense that it is realized when the management recruits and hires a small number of nurses while as the facility receives and offers services a higher number of patients (Clarke, & Donaldson, 2008). This is a challenge because in an ordinary situation, it is the approximated number of patients that a facility receives that should be used to determine the number of nurses that should be hired.

Impact of the problem

Staffing problem in the nursing practice has serious negative impacts on the nurses and the entire facility. Overworked nurses gradually underperform as they are stressed and not in the right physical and mental ability. This is to mean that nurse staffing problem hinders nurses from realizing their real potentials and abilities (Cho, et al., 2015). Secondly, it affects overall performance of the facility which means that the facility does not become as productive as it should. Due to fatigue and the need to handle as much work as possible; errors are easily triggered that have far reaching consequences on the patients. This is to mean that the quality of care is highly compromised, and the nurses do not have the time to build rapport with patients which is vital in the recovery process (Bridges, et al., 2019). As a matter of reality, nursing errors have led to patient’s developing other complications that they did not have in the first place as well as reduced recovery pace (Martin, 2015).

Proposed solution

The nursing issue has no other shortcut to address the problem apart from hiring the right number of nurses (Lee, Blegen, & Harrington, 2014). The latter is in the sense that there is the recommended number of people that a nurse should at least serve. The facility should conduct a statistic research to determine the number of patients it serves and determine the number of nurses it should hire (Clarke, & Donaldson, 2008). Also, different measures should be put in place to make sure that nursing tasks are done in a much easier and effective way. For instance, advanced technology strategies can be used to reduce nursing errors and motivation strategies applied as well.


Aiken, L. H., Cerón, C., Simonetti, M., Lake, E. T., Galiano, A., Garbarini, A., … & Smith, H. L. (2018). Hospital nurse staffing and patient outcomes. Revista Médica Clínica Las Condes29(3), 322-327.

Bridges, J., Griffiths, P., Oliver, E., & Pickering, R. M. (2019). Hospital nurse staffing and staff–patient interactions: an observational study. BMJ Qual Saf, bmjqs-2018.

Buerhaus, P. I., Donelan, K., Ulrich, B. T., Norman, L., DesRoches, C., & Dittus, R. (2007). Impact of the nurse shortage on hospital patient care: Comparative perspectives. Health affairs26(3), 853-862.

Cho, E., Sloane, D. M., Kim, E. Y., Kim, S., Choi, M., Yoo, I. Y., … & Aiken, L. H. (2015). Effects of nurse staffing, work environments, and education on patient mortality: an observational study. International journal of nursing studies52(2), 535-542.

Clarke, S. P., & Donaldson, N. E. (2008). Nurse staffing and patient care quality and safety. In Patient safety and quality: An evidence-based handbook for nurses. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Cox, P., Willis, W. K., & Coustasse, A. (2014). The American epidemic: The US nursing shortage and turnover problem.

Lee, H. Y., Blegen, M. A., & Harrington, C. (2014). The effects of RN staffing hours on nursing home quality: a two-stage model. International journal of nursing studies51(3), 409-417.

Martin, C. J. (2015). The effects of nurse staffing on quality of care. MedSurg Nursing24(2), S4-S4.

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