Effects of Staff Shortage on Health Care

Majority of hospital operations suffer as a result of under-staffing. The numbers of healthcare providers remain constant or dwindle despite the increasing number of patients. Moreover, some health facilities take long to fill the vacancies left upon retirement or resignation of staff.  Nurse and physician shortage has crippled the healthcare industry and is expected to rise exponentially.

Inadequate nurses in hospitals result in low nurse-to-patient ratio. Therefore, efficiency is generally diminished, leading to the death of patients. Also, the spread of infections in the hospital wards becomes uncontrollable due to the poor hygiene and lack of essential care equipment. Moreover, majority of the nurses will discharge patients even before stabilizing and, therefore, their condition gets worse at home and return to the facility often sicker than before. Ideally when the ratio of nurse to patient is balanced, caring for patients becomes easy since they will always be available to intervene.

The shortage of physicians is detrimental to patients since they have to take long at the hospitals, making it more difficult for admissions. In fact, the doctors will be unable to adequately treat patients as a result of patient overload and extended shifts (Xiaoming, Ma, Chang & Shieh, 2014). The available physicians will get over-worked and exhausted, leading to a decline in work output.

Inadequate staffing of ancillary healthcare providers is of significant impact to the entire hospital fraternity. Insufficient laboratory personnel will result in a poor diagnosis of patients and delayed turn-around time. Furthermore, under-staffing the pharmacists may lead to an impaired response regarding the dispensation or delivery of drugs upon request by the clinicians. It can, therefore, lead to fatalities due to delayed administration of drugs. Also, keeping records of the drugs become difficult as the staff will get overwhelmed.

Impacts of Reorganization in Healthcare

In response to the consolidation of services or merger, hospital management must rearrange the staffs to suit the new structure. The reclassification is characterized by reducing the number of employees and multitasking since a majority of services are offered under one roof. The ultimate results are often messy. Morally, facilities merge to reduce the operating costs and maximize profits.

Merging of healthcare services leads to exhaustion of staff (Xiaoming, Ma, Chang & Shieh, 2014). The staffs are forced to undertake extra duties to fix the deficit. For instance, a laboratory technologist will be required to operate in the hematology, serology, histopathology, and microbiology sections of the laboratory, which is tedious.

Also, the merging can result in poor quality of services; hence, tainting the reputation of the hospital. In the consolidated set-up, some members take up responsibilities outside their professional qualifications. For instance, a microbiologist will be forced to give injections or give prescriptions, something he is not qualified. The services are often unsatisfactory and at times worsen the patient’s situation, leading to a poor client turn-up alongside a decline in revenue.

Consolidation of services results in possible congestion of the facilities. Moreover, the scenario is a predisposing factor to infections and accidents. For instance, the merging of hospital wards exposes the patients to communicable illnesses. Also, merging the laboratory units leads to a lapse in the necessary safety precautions, exposing the attendants to pathogens.

Benefits of Effective Communication

Effective communication is critical in the management of every health department. Moreover, communication is vital in building good relationships between the employees and the top management. Employees are a significant audience since they act as the medium to other audience. If the workers are engaged and informed, communication with other colleagues is likely to strengthen.

Effective communication in the department seeks to establish clear expectations for the employees and, surprisingly, for patients. Clear anticipations often convey to the workers how their contributions will impact the whole unit (Weller, Boyd & Cumin, 2014). Also, the expectations serve as guidelines on the best ways to achieving positive feedback and success in service delivery. clear interactions aids in the management of the worker’s expectations too.

Moreover, honest and effective communication binds the employees together. It boosts the loyalty and trust among the members of a department. Worker interacting when performing duties; is an essential step towards realizing a strong and good team. Effective communication between the boss and the employees joins the two together alongside increasing openness and loyalty (Weller, Boyd & Cumin, 2014).

Managing diversity requires proper communication channels. Ideally, in the spirit of globalization, most facilities consist of people from all races, gender, and nationalities. Therefore, proper communication will prevent conflict, discrimination and possible bias. It can be achieved through spelling clear guidelines on staff conduct. Racial and gender discrimination affects the overall performance of employees.

Proper communication helps in surviving catastrophes. For instance, in an event of delayed salaries, the management should be clear about the event and agree on the way forward with the workers. If the in-charge ducks discussions, it can demoralize and kill the faith of the employees regarding the management. Ideally, majority of the successful organizations never wait until workers go on rampage but instead communicate to avert such disaster.

Benefits of collaboration and teamwork

Collaboration at the workplace is a show of a high-functioning and effective team. In the hospital set up, collaboration points toward balance; enabling workers to collaborate at will, but also allowing them take advantage of free time to accomplish individual tasks. Notably, communication contributes towards a successful collaboration.

To begin with, collaboration drives the company towards achieving its objectives. Generally, teamwork has a direct impact on the results of a project or task. When the department is in collaboration including; communicating seamlessly and openly sharing information, they are able to deliver the best outcome (Rycroft-Malone et al., 2015). Also, group effort creates immense flexibility. In fact, united employees often share experience and expertise. For instance, microbiologists and parasitologists frequently exhibit flexibility whereby they easily rotate within their area of work. Therefore, an employee can work in the absence of his colleague; hence, continuity and efficiency.

Greater creative input depends on a sober collaboration. When the employees alliance, the sharing of ideas and approaches to the projects can spur innovation that can eventually improve the quality of services offered by the department. Also, teamwork increases worker’s morale. As employees work in unity, they tend to celebrate their success as a unit, and this ensures a positive perception of their job (Rycroft-Malone et al., 2015). Interestingly, partnership creates a sense of belonging.

How to Promote Communication and Collaboration in a Department

Apparently, communication directly impacts collaboration in every organization. In case of a communication breakdown, then the alliance disintegrates. Therefore, the manager must ensure he or she balances the two to realize a successful human resource management which eventually leads to attainment of the desired goals.

Convening regular meetings is a strategy in enhancing communication. The manager can organize evening meetings with his staff members to brainstorm on the days’ work. The members will have the platform to voice their experience alongside giving recommendations on how to improve the service delivery going forward. Also, the meeting can involve the planning of work and rotation of staff. Moreover, such meetings strengthen the relationship between workers and, in turn, positive partnership.

Dismantling the hierarchies prevents communication jams and encouraging collaboration. The technique aims at ensuring the employees exist as a unit. For instance, scrapping off the representative’s positions is a way of abolishing power. Also, it averts internal conflict that may ensue between workers battling for various positions, leading to disintegration, loss of unity, and even some workers quitting the job, sitting unfairness in management. In enhancing communication, the method ensures all workers communicate directly with the top management without necessarily passing through a representative, resulting in a stronger employee-employer relationship.

Being a role model is a lynchpin and effective leader’s arsenal in accomplishing a clear communication and teamwork in the organization. For example, the manager should be the first to comment, share, answer question, and give feedbacks on any occurrence to encourage employees to do the same. Being a good conversationalist sets the stage for the employees around you. Most employees often adopt the kind of communication that is exhibited by the top management. Also, the unity of officials trickles down to the employees. If the managers are perfectly connected, the workers will have no choice but emulate.




Rycroft-Malone, J., Burton, C. R., Wilkinson, J., Harvey, G., McCormack, B., Baker, R., … & Ariss, S. (2015). Collective action for implementation: a realist evaluation of organisational collaboration in healthcare. Implementation Science, 11(1), 17.

Weller, J., Boyd, M., & Cumin, D. (2014). Teams, tribes and patient safety: overcoming barriers to effective teamwork in healthcare. Postgraduate medical journal, 90(1061), 49-54.

Xiaoming, Y., Ma, B. J., Chang, C., & Shieh, C. J. (2014). Effects of workload on burnout and turnover intention of medical staff: A study. Ethno Med Journal, 8(3), 29-37.