One could claim without a doubt that the healthcare industry has changed tremendously over the course of a couple of decades. However, certain aspects certainly remain true even as years have passed. For instance, medical professionals often face dilemmas in regards to various competing needs related to patient safety, quality of care, or the cost of services provided. Furthermore, as healthcare institutions “shift from a treat-heal-care model to a more corporate or business paradigm,” more emphasis is put on cost and resource efficiency versus patient experience (Kelly & Porr, 2018, para. 6). Nowadays, medical organizations are fully established conglomerates that generate massive revenue, which means that their leadership is often tasked with making compromises in relation to competing demands. Unfortunately, for years, the two primary groups of needs the conversation has been centered on were organizational needs and patient needs. Therefore, the needs of the workforce were often disregarded, and the voices of nurses and clinicians were repeatedly stifled. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate what competing needs a healthcare organization can have.
Firstly, it is crucial to understand exactly what demands a hospital or any other medical facility has to face. Following the standards of the patient-oriented approach adopted by numerous clinics, the needs of patients are usually prioritized. The Code of ethics published by the American Nurses Association (2015) states that it is the primary task of a nurse to commit to patients, treat them in accordance with ethical standards, and protect their rights. Two components of the Triple Aim directly relate to the patients as they include “improving the patient experience of care” and “improving the health of populations” (Fitzpatrick et al., 2019, p. 185). The next component focuses in equal terms on the patient and the organization itself as it is expressed in the goal of reducing healthcare costs. After all, the modern healthcare system is restructured and now includes an array of institutions, which are designed to make profit (Kelly & Porr, 2018). Thus, their leadership makes it an objective to cut costs and make decisions, while taking into consideration efficiency and equitability.
With the adoption of the Quadruple Aim by numerous American healthcare organizations, the issue of staff engagement has attracted public attention. Essentially, nurses and clinicians are tasked with making challenging decisions, remaining competent and ethically aware, as well as grow professionally in order to keep up with the advancements (Milliken, 2018). Therefore, their needs have to be considered just as much as the needs of an organization. Provision 6 of the aforementioned Code of ethics states that nurses are obligated to improve their working environment and “conditions of employment that are conductive to safe, quality health care” (American Nurses Association, 2015, p. V). For instance, working 12-hour shifts is neither healthy nor safe for nurses, which should affect the policies implemented by a hospital. After all, not meeting the needs of staff affects the quality and safety of care received by patients, which ultimately leads to workers quitting and executives spending even more money on legal procedures, staff training, and so on.
It is evident that the needs of an organization, a patient, and a medical professional are inter-connected. Therefore, healthcare leadership has to put more effort into protecting the staff and ensuring the needs of the workforce are met. One way they could do this is by investing in the development of policies, which would address the demands of the workforce. For example, providing medical practitioners with professional development opportunities, prioritizing mechanisms to prevent abuse or mitigate risks of bullying and discrimination.
American Nurses Association. (2015). Code of ethics for nurses: With interpretive statements. Web.
Fitzpatrick, B., Bloore, K., & Blake, N. (2019). Joy in work and reducing nurse burnout: From Triple Aim to Quadruple Aim. AACN: Advanced Critical Care, 30(2), 185–188.
Kelly, P., & Porr, C. (2018). Ethical nursing care versus cost containment: Considerations to enhance RN practice. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 23(1).
Milliken, A. (2018). Ethical awareness: What it is and why it matters. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 23(1).