Education Career Articles

Connect Facebook Connect Twitter Connect Google+ Connect Pinterest Connect Stumbleupon

Tips for Working in a Hospital when Your Team is Short Staffed

Career News August 25, 2013

Due to the ongoing nursing shortage, state imposed nurse-to-patient ratios, last minute illnesses, vacations, and an ever-shifting influx of new patients, chances are your nursing team has been short staffed. In fact, staff shortage is probably not something that happens just once in a while, but is more likely a common occurrence at the hospital where you work. When it comes to properly handling staffing issues and ensuring that every patient gets the medical attention they need, nurses need to be flexible and quick-thinking. The old adage “There is no I in Team” is a motto that every nurse should learn, as it proves to be particularly beneficial when a healthcare facility is short staffed.

The Importance of Teamwork and Support

Teamwork is the key to handling a short staffed shift. When you work together as a closely-knit team, responsibilities and tasks can be accomplished more effectively and efficiently. If a hospital unit is hit with a slew of emergency admissions, which is all too common when you work in the healthcare field, teamwork is essential in order to get the job done, and it takes on an even greater importance when you’re short on staff.

Teamwork is not only about accomplishing the physical tasks of the nursing job, but in providing emotional support to your coworkers. If your team is short staffed, it’s not uncommon for nurses to become stressed and anxious. Nurses don’t want to feel as if they’re dealing with a burden all by themselves. Mental and emotional support during stressful times encourages a stronger bond between employees and contributes to the spirit of teamwork. The feeling that you’re all in this together can ease the stress and help nurses better cope with being short staffed.

Prioritizing Assignments

When there is a staffing shortage, successful time management is essential in the workplace. The best way to manage time is to prioritize, and this is a strategy that all nurses need to be proficient at. If you’re short staffed and trying to cover “x” number of patients, then some of the “special things” you might do for a patient when you’re unit is fully staffed might need to be put on hold. In other words, the shift assignments need to be prioritized by level of importance. While prioritization is critical for successful time management, good communication amongst the nursing team will make that prioritizing easier.

Delegating Tasks

From unit managers to CNA’s, there is a hierarchy in most healthcare facilities. However, while a unit manager might be in charge of a shift, all the nurses on the floor need to be skilled at job delegation. Delegation is one of the trickier aspects of the workplace. People do not want to appear officious and domineering. However, delegation is an important strategy in dealing with a staffing shortage, and delegating tasks does not need to be done in a disrespectful or demeaning manner. Asking a CNA or an unlicensed staff member to provide some additional help allows nurses more time to focus on the essential tasks. Skilled delegation enables a unit to be more efficient, and this sort of time management skill is fundamental to coping with a short staffed shift.

In the nursing profession, a day at work is unpredictable, and no two days are the same. When you’re short staffed, it can easily lead to further stress and workplace aggravation. Strategies and coping skills for these types of situations are not only vital for the nurses, but they will help ensure patients will receive the care and attention they need.

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
Fortis Institute , Grand Prairie
  • Ready to Start Your Career? Get More Info From Fortis Today.
  • Accredited
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Earn your Master of Public Health Online from GW in 12 months.
  • GRE waivers available for qualified applicants.
  • Advance your career in a range of industries, including epidemiology, public health and biostatistics.
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Why Earn Your Degree from GCU?
  • Options: Choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more!
  • Convenience: Complete courses online, on campus, or a combination of both!
  • Earlier Graduation: Our 4-credit courses allow you to complete your degree program in less time.
  • Transfer Friendly: We will request your transcripts, evaluate your graduate coursework, and determine your anticipated graduation date within 24 hours.
  • Quality: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is regionally accredited. Learn more today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
4 Program(s) Found
  • Recognized as a Top 20 Best Online Bachelor’s Program by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.
  • Online, campus-based, and evening courses offered in 95 areas of study, including Business, Nursing, Psychology, & more.
  • Endorsed by G.I. Jobs and Military Advanced Education magazine as a Military Friendly School in 2015.
  • Features small class sizes, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 23 to 1.
  • 88% of Regent University students receive financial aid, with $18 million awarded in institutional scholarships & aid each year.
  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, IT, Healthcare Management, Pscyhology & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Looking for an Online Healthcare Degree Program That May Improve Your Career Options?
  • EarnMyDegree.com Can Help You Match Your Educational Goals With Your Desired Career.
  • Whether You Are Looking to Earn a Degree Online, or Study at a Nearby Campus, This Is The Place to Connect With a College That May Be Ideal for You.
  • Browse Through Our List Of Online Colleges and Traditional Schools to Determine Potential Places to Earn a Degree NOW!
  • Online Courses

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • There's still time to apply to Grand Canyon University and pursue your education. Learn more today!
  • Study on your schedule - GCU offers many programs 100% online to fit your busy lifestyle.
  • GCU offers a variety of opportunities to reduce the cost of furthering your education. Campus students may qualify for scholarships, while online students can take part in limited special offers.
  • A regionally accredited university, GCU also holds specialized accreditations and approvals for some of our core program offerings.
  • Degrees in business, education, nursing, humanities and social sciences, theology and more. Find the degree that fits you.
  • Talk to us today to learn more about financial aid and start dates!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Earn your Master of Public Health Online from GW in 12 months.
  • GRE waivers available for qualified applicants.
  • Advance your career in a range of industries, including epidemiology, public health and biostatistics.
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
4 Program(s) Found
  • Recognized as a Top 20 Best Online Bachelor’s Program by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.
  • Online, campus-based, and evening courses offered in 95 areas of study, including Business, Nursing, Psychology, & more.
  • Endorsed by G.I. Jobs and Military Advanced Education magazine as a Military Friendly School in 2015.
  • Features small class sizes, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 23 to 1.
  • 88% of Regent University students receive financial aid, with $18 million awarded in institutional scholarships & aid each year.
  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online Bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, Psychology, IT, Healthcare Management & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
  • Provide a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services
  • Give students and alumni access to career assistants who help with resumes, cover letters, job hunting, and more.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Looking for an Online Healthcare Degree Program That May Improve Your Career Options?
  • EarnMyDegree.com Can Help You Match Your Educational Goals With Your Desired Career.
  • Whether You Are Looking to Earn a Degree Online, or Study at a Nearby Campus, This Is The Place to Connect With a College That May Be Ideal for You.
  • Browse Through Our List Of Online Colleges and Traditional Schools to Determine Potential Places to Earn a Degree NOW!
  • Online Courses

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!