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Description of the problem (Nursing shortage on the geriatric psychiatry unit)
OPEN SYSTEMS THEORY5From the above analysis of the psychiatric unit using the open systems theory, it is apparent that the major problem facing the unit is the nursing shortage. As a system functioning as a whole, the lack of adequate nursing staff in the psychiatric unit has negatively impacted other aspects of the system such as an increase in a nurse to patient ratio. Due to the decreasing nursing staff, the workload for the remaining nurses has significantly increased hence causing fatigue (Meyer & O’Brien-Pallas, 2010). Consequently, this further escalates the problem the unit faces by increasing the risk of medical errors which is a patient safety concern (Manley, O’Keefe, Jackson, Pearce & Smith, 2014). The above challenges coupled with poor work environments for the nurses decreases their morale or satisfaction with their job, and most of them end up resigning. These cycles of events according to the open systems theory, in which a problem within the subsystem adversely impacts on the other components further complicates the impacts of nursing shortage within the psychiatric unit. Applying the systems theory model to the above nursing shortage, the problem exists within the input and the throughput components. For the input, it is evident from the analysis thatthe organization does not have clear structures and proper leadership in place of ensuring that theunit has adequate nursing staff as per the policy in place which requires the unit to have at least four nurses and two nurse assistants (Marquis & Huston, 2015). At the moment, the unit has only two nursing staff which adversely impacts on the quality of care the patients receive and also puts nurses at a higher risk of medical errors due to stress and fatigue. Additionally, the nursing shortage problem exists in the throughput component in that the unit does not have mechanisms of helping the nursing staff to cope with the challenges brought by the nursing shortage thus further complicates the matter by the higher turnover rates (Johnson, Miller & Horowitz, 2010).
OPEN SYSTEMS THEORY6Addressing the problemDesired outcomeUpon resolving the above-identified problem, the desired results of the proposed interventions is a unit with adequate nursing staff and nurse assistants as per the organization's policy. This will ensure that the unit maintains the recommended nurse to patient ratio. Goals and objectives that would facilitate the outcomeTo achieve the above-desired outcome of adequate nursing staff within the geriatric psychiatric unit, the organization must meet the following goals and objectives:1)Recruitment of more nurses and nurse assistants to solve the current nursing shortage and meet the nursing care demand from the patients.2)Maintain the recommended nurse to patient ratio of 1:5 as opposed to the current of 1:8.3)Enhance nursing performance and working environment for nurses by eliminatingwork-place stress conditions such as ensuring the unit nurses are not overworked. Policies and procedures for the unit1)The administration in consultation with the unit manager and the chief nursing officer should hire travel nurses to address the current nursing shortage.