Nurse Understaffing During COVID-19 Pandemic

Cite this

In urgent patients during the COVID-19 pandemic (P), how adequate nurse staffing level (I) compared to understaffing (C) can improve patient safety and quality of care (O) within six months (T)?

Cut 15% OFF your first order
We’ll deliver a custom Nursing paper tailored to your requirements with a good discount
Use discount
322 specialists online

The world lacks nearly 6 million nurses to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization has published a report on an acute shortage of medical personnel around the world. In particular, according to WHO, the nursing shortage is about 5.9 million people (Turale et al., 2020). The most acute personnel issue threatens countries where the pandemic cannot be brought under control. Even those developed countries, where previously there was no shortage of nurses, are now in need of them. WHO calls on all countries to expeditiously train new nurses and create jobs for them since this can reduce mortality, comorbidities, and poor quality of care.

Unfortunately, most countries, including the United States, are poorly equipped to respond to a pandemic of this magnitude. This can be explained by the shortage and limitations of nursing staff since nurses at the forefront of the fight and are doing a lot to keep health systems running (Xu et al., 2020). Physically and mentally exhausted nurses work around the clock to provide care and put themselves and their families at risk of infection. Even before the onset of the crisis, the number of nurses around the world was not growing fast enough to meet the universal health coverage targets and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 (Turale et al., 2020). Although the global nursing deficit narrowed slightly from 6.6 million in 2016 to 5.9 million in 2018, almost 90% of the deficit occurs in low-income countries (Turale et al., 2020). The number of trained nurses is barely keeping pace with population growth. These imbalances exacerbate health emergencies and put additional strain on the existing medical staff.

The world needs 9 million more nurses to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. To close this gap, the number of medical school graduates must increase by an average of 8% per year worldwide (Saville et al., 2021). Investing money in nursing has a tangible impact on the health and well-being of people. The low absorption rate of graduating nurses, often fueled by inefficient recruitment or undesirable working conditions, leads to unemployment among nurses despite a general shortage of staff. Moreover, poor working conditions and inadequate training hinder productivity, leading to high dropout rates.

To solve this problem, it is necessary to improve funding for training nurses, employ them, and analyze the reasons for their move to other regions of the country or abroad. It is important to invest in postgraduate nursing education and introduce nursing leadership positions to motivate staff to grow professionally (Xu et al., 2020). It is also necessary to improve the conditions of remuneration and expand the rights of nurses. Given the fact that 90% of nurses in the world are women, it is significant to take this gender aspect into account when motivating the staff, for example, to develop benefits for nurses with small children (Saville et a., 2021). The legislation that regulates nursing in the country should be improved as well to involve nurses in making managerial decisions.

Thus, during the COVID-19 pandemic, adequate nurse staffing levels could improve patient safety and quality of care, especially in urgent patients. Nurses play a critical role in scaling up the provision of health services to the population. Evidence suggests that nurses also play an important role in enhancing the productivity of the health sector and improving patient outcomes. Therefore, to retain existing nurses and attract new staff, it is necessary to fund their training and retraining, create jobs, improve working conditions, increase salaries, and strengthen their leadership role in healthcare settings. Without a sufficient number of competent nurses, it is impossible to organize the normal work of healthcare, and especially to fight epidemics.


Turale, S., Meechamnan, C., & Kunaviktikul, W. (2020). Challenging times: Ethics, nursing and the COVID‐19 pandemic. International nursing review, 67(2), 164-167. Web.

On-Time Delivery!
Get your customized and 100% plagiarism-free paper done in as little as 3 hours
Let’s start
322 specialists online

Saville, C., Monks, T., Griffiths, P., & Ball, J. E. (2021). Costs and consequences of using average demand to plan baseline nurse staffing levels: A computer simulation study. BMJ Quality & Safety, 30(1), 7-16. Web.

Xu, H., Intrator, O., & Bowblis, J. R. (2020). Shortages of staff in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic: What are the driving factors? Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 21(10), 1371-1377. Web.

Cite this paper

Select style


NursingBird. (2022, July 18). Nurse Understaffing During COVID-19 Pandemic. Retrieved from


NursingBird. (2022, July 18). Nurse Understaffing During COVID-19 Pandemic.

Work Cited

"Nurse Understaffing During COVID-19 Pandemic." NursingBird, 18 July 2022,


NursingBird. (2022) 'Nurse Understaffing During COVID-19 Pandemic'. 18 July.


NursingBird. 2022. "Nurse Understaffing During COVID-19 Pandemic." July 18, 2022.

1. NursingBird. "Nurse Understaffing During COVID-19 Pandemic." July 18, 2022.


NursingBird. "Nurse Understaffing During COVID-19 Pandemic." July 18, 2022.