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Nurse Understaffing: Strategic Business Management Essay

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Updated: Jun 5th, 2021


Nurse understaffing is a significant issue in the US that requires immediate attention. According to Haddad and Toney-Butler (2019), the number of employment opportunities for nurses is expected to grow at a rate of 15%. At the same time, nurse shortage is also estimated to increase since the US will need 1.1 million additional nurses by 2022 to avoid staffing problems (Haddad & Toney-Butler, 2019). One of the strategies to improve the situation is to attract more male nurses to the profession. Historically, women dominated the nursing profession due to various objective and subjective reasons. Carrigan and Brooks (2016) state that only 9.6% of nurses are males, which hints at the lack of male-oriented hiring and retention practices. The present project aims to improve the staffing situation and increasing workplace gender diversity by elaborating and implementing strategies to attract men in the nursing profession.

Problem Statement and Proposed Solution

Problem Background

The causes of nurse understaffing in the US are numerous and well-studied. According to Haddad and Toney-Butler (2019), they include the aging population, an aging workforce, nurse burnout, fast growth, and violence in healthcare settings. The problem has a snowball effect since low staffing ratios lead to increased turnover, thus aggravating the problem. Shortage of front-line care providers is associated with an increased number of missed treatments and related adverse events (Glette, Aase, & Wiig, 2017). At the same time, males often prefer to avoid nursing as a career choice due to social stereotypes. According to Yi and Keogh (2016), patients and coworkers often regard male nurses to be gay or hypersexual. Additionally, male nurses often deal with workplace sexism and bullying (Carrigan & Brooks, 2016). Due to the reasons summarized above, it seems logical to address the problems of male nurses to attract more men to the nursing profession, which can help to reduce the nurse shortage.

Proposed Solution

The proposed solution to understaffing of nursing is designing and implementing male-oriented hiring and retention practices. In terms of recruitment, advertisements should be reworked to picture more males, and human resource (HR) managers are advised to focus on career opportunities. As for retention, the hospitals’ policies are to be modified to make the wording more gender-neutral and include zero tolerance to workplace sexism. Additionally, nursing role models are to be introduced and honored. The goal of the project is to increase the number of male nurses by 20% and improve the staffing situation by 15%. The implementation plan for the recommended intervention includes three major steps listed below:

  1. Disseminating knowledge about the impacts of nurse shortage among staff members to arouse dissatisfaction with current practice;
  2. Revising the existing policies to include new hiring and retention practices;
  3. Training HR managers to use elaborated instruments while hiring men nurses;
  4. Evaluation and revision of the intervention after six months of use.

Risks and Financial Ramification

The project is designed to be associated with minimum risk and financial ramifications. The project is expected to be cost-effective and negative or insufficient results will not add to the organizational financial burden. The identified risks are low adherence to the new policies among employees and ineffectiveness of the proposed method due to the lack of sufficient empirical support for the intervention. However, in the worst-case scenario, the organization risks losing the money spent on the project; yet, no other financial implications are expected. At the same time, in case of positive results, a hospital that employs 100 nurses with a 20% yearly turnover rate may benefit approximately $200,000 (Roche, Duffield, Homer, Buchan, & Dimitrelis, 2015). In summary, the project may either lose the investments made in the project or save money yearly, depending on the results of the intervention.

Stakeholders and Accountability

The potential stakeholders of the proposed project are diverse due to the importance of the problem. Since modern healthcare aims at providing high-quality patient-centered care, the primary stakeholders are patients. The interventions are expected to improve staffing rates that should decrease the number of missed treatments and associated morbidity and mortality (Glette et al., 2017). Additionally, an improved staffing situation may positively affect job satisfaction and lessen the desire to leave the current profession. In short, the objective of the project is to benefit two groups of stakeholders: nurses and patients.

The project will require the attention of other hospital employees and healthcare workers. First, the HR managers will be change agents that will implement the intervention. Second, hospital authorities will have a vested interest in the project since it has the potential to positively affect the reputation of the facility due to improved patient outcomes and increased job satisfaction among nurses. Third, in case of success of the project, other hospitals will be interested in using the intervention to improve the staffing situation, which may benefit the healthcare system in general. The HR managers will be held accountable for the results of the project since they are expected to provide expertise about the proposed solution and make necessary revisions.

Budget Considerations and Funding

The project is not expected to require extensive human and financial resources. Since the project will be implemented in hospitals, which are expected to have a standard computer and office equipment, only minor investments are required. Healthcare facilities are expected to fund the project since the interventions are targeted at one hospital at a time. Since the matter is projected to be cost-efficient, there should be no problem in acquiring the needed funds if the authorities are provided with enough justifications for the additional spending. Table 1 provides holistic information about the proposed budget for the project.

Project Expenses: Addressing Nurse Understaffing
Line Item Projected Cost Total Requested
A. HR Training $1,500.00 100%
B. Advertisement Design $2,500.00 100%
C. Printing $1,000.00 100%

Table 1. Project Budget.

Explanation of Expenditures

The total of the expected expenditures is $5,000, which is considerably lower than the projected financial benefit of $200,000 a year. The budget includes three one-hour training sessions for HR managers at the cost of $500 per session. Posters, visual help for HRs, and online banners will need to be designed, which is expected to require $800, $500, and $1200 correspondingly. The printing cost of the elaborated material will cost $1000. In brief, the project is cost-efficient, and there should be no problem with funding it considering the possible benefits.


Nurse understaffing is a considerable bother for the healthcare system in the US. Inadequate staffing ratios lead to poor patient outcomes and decreased job satisfaction among nurses. The matter can be addressed by adopting male-oriented hiring and retention strategies since currently, the profession is dominated by females. The present paper proves that low-cost interventions can be elaborated to improve the matter in any healthcare facility.


Carrigan, T. M., & Brooks, B. A. (2016). Q: How will we achieve 20% by 2020? A: Men in nursing. Nurse Leader, 14(2), 115-119.

Glette, M.K., Aase, K., & Wiig, S. (2017). The relationship between understaffing of nurses and patient safety in hospitals—A literature review with thematic analysis. Open Journal of Nursing, 7, 1387-1429. Web.

Haddad, L., & Toney-Butler, T. (2019). Web.

Roche, M., Duffield, C., Homer, C., Buchan, J., & Dimitrelis, S. (2015). The rate and cost of nurse turnover in Australia. Collegian, 22(4), 353-358. Web.

Yi, M., & Keogh, B. (2016). What motivates men to choose nursing as a profession? A systematic review of qualitative studies. Contemporary Nurse, 52(1), 95-105. Web.

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