Problem in the Health Care Clinic

Subject: Health Care
Type: Evaluation Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 803
Topics: Nursing, Health, Medical Ethics, Medicine

Description of the Organization

The organization is and tertiary emergency and trauma hospital located in a densely populated urban area.  It is an area with high crime rates, a significant number of African-American, Latino, and Asian communities.  This hospital has a 500 bed capacity hosting several primary hospital units including the emergency unit, the operating/surgical unit, orthopedic unit, obstetrics/gynecology unit, pediatric, medicine, cardiology, and neurology units.  It has also three intensive care units.  It has a diverse and competent staff (physicians, specialists, consultants, and support staff including nurses, medical technologists, nursing practitioners, medical attendants, transport aide, dietitians, and similar other medical staff).  It is primarily privately owned, but is heavily subsidized by the government to assist in the maintenance and its service to the large surrounding community.   

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Description of the problem

The problem being observed mostly relates to exhaustion and burnout among medical personnel, especially nurses.  This is mostly noticed in the emergency department as well as the surgical ward.  From the time a nurse for instance would start her shift until she ends it, she is mostly on her feet, catering to patients rushed into the emergency room.  The nurses in the wards, especially the surgical wards are also having a similar experience.  The ratio of patient to nurse/medical personnel is very much poor with patients far outnumbering medical personnel to the point where the latter are driven to exhaustion and are burned out.  

There is an inadequate number of staff serving the numerous patients being admitted to the hospital.  In the wards, the ratio is one nurse is to 7-8 patients.  The ideal ratio is 1 nurse is to 3-4 patients, but the current conditions in the wards indicate double the number of patients a nurse should be managing.  For other medical personnel like physicians, there are also not many physicians immediately available for the management of the patients (Chen, et al., 2013).  As a result, medical care is often delayed, the number of patients at the emergency unit often have to wait for about 3-4 hours before their concerns are seen to.  In the operating theatres, emergency surgeries are prioritized and even then, there is still a waiting period for atleast 30 minutes before the patient can be operated on.  This is mostly due to the fact that medical operating staff are usually always busy managing other patients.  

As a result of the overflow of patients in the hospital as well as the inadequate number of staff managing the patients, medical personnel are mostly tired and exhausted while catering to the needs of numerous patients.  Most of them do not have adequate rest periods or periods for eating or taking re-energizing naps.  Due to inadequate medical personnel, they are prompted to perform multiple functions which sometimes are not specifically within their designated functions.  Due to inadequate nursing practitioners in the ward, staff nurses are often prompted to carry out other tasks like cleaning bed pans or preparing beds for new admissions, etc.  Some nurses have also been known to transport patients to laboratory or X-ray rooms for their diagnostic tests because there are no available transport aides.  

Due to the exhaustion and burnout experienced by the the nurses and other medical personnel, there have been numerous medical errors which have been reported throughout the years.  So far, in the past year alone, there were five medical errors committed by medical personnel, three by nurses, and two by physicians.  At one point, one of the patients almost died because of an overdose, and another patient missed his insulin shot and almost went into shock.  One patient was administered the wrong medication, and another patient almost had a wrong surgery performed on him.  On the side of nurses, one nurse who was on shift for 8 hours straight with hardly any break fainted due to hunger and a physician almost missed a scheduled surgery because he overslept at the doctor’s quarters.  It is fortunate that so far no deaths have resulted from this issue, but if the issue would not be addressed, it would only be a matter of time before someone would likely die due to the medical errors of medical personnel in the trauma hospital.  Another offshoot of the problem in the hospital is the fact that the burnout among the medical personnel has prompted the latter to transfer to other hospitals or to change professions (Hwang & Park, 2014).  These are not good trends for the medical profession because it causes a brain-drain of medical professionals which only serves to worsen the occurrence of medical errors in the hospitals and health clinics.  

Explanation of the problem

There is a serious shortage of medical personnel in majority of health clinics in the country causing burnout and exhaustion among medical personnel, making patients vulnerable to the life-threatening dangers of medical errors and medical negligence. 

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  1. Chen, K. Y., Yang, C. M., Lien, C. H., Chiou, H. Y., Lin, M. R., Chang, H. R., & Chiu, W. T. 
  2. (2013). Burnout, job satisfaction, and medical malpractice among physicians. International journal of medical sciences10(11), 1471.
  3. Hwang, J. I., & Park, H. A. (2014). Nurses’ perception of ethical climate, medical error 
  4. experience and intent-to-leave. Nursing ethics21(1), 28-42.
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