The studies I have chosen to examine are “Policy Perspectives: Can the Use of LPNs Alleviate the Nursing Shortage?” and “The Working Hours of Hospital Staff Nurses and Patient Safety”. The first study is concerned with the shortage of trained nurses in hospitals and the need to provide high-quality care in the changing environment of the 21st century. The authors explore the ways of guaranteeing good patient care by efficiently using the available human resources (Seago et al., 2006). Demographic composition and the education levels of the LPNs in America are examined, and the data from multiple comprehensive statistics are cited as the basis for many of the results (Seago et al., 2006). The use of LPNs is proposed as an effective solution to the nursing shortage, staffing the hospitals with professionals of sufficient education level (Seago et al., 2006).
The second study explores the issue of increased work shifts and their effect on staff performance. Through the use of logbooks, data was collected from 393 registered nurses over the two weeks, including their work routine and well-being (Rogers et al., 2004). The nurses wrote down the information on their daily tasks and the time it took to complete them. They also documented the mistakes and potential errors they made during practice. The questionnaires were made anonymous, promoting honesty from the recipients. The results revealed that the hospital staff regularly worked longer than scheduled and half of the shifts exceeded 10 hours (Rogers et al., 2004). The increase in shift duration and overtime was shown to have a significant correlation to work errors. Longer shifts are ultimately argued to be detrimental to nurse performance.
How the Articles Support the Chosen Issue
The articles in question display how various work factors can influence the effectiveness of nursing and hospital work. The results of the studies presented, and the conclusions drawn by Rogers et al. (2004) and Seago et al. (2006) can be effectively utilized to determine which approach leads to increased positive outcomes for patients. The former strengthens the position of using LPN professionals, while the latter provides reasons for not increasing work hours for nurses. Positions in the papers also demonstrate the potential downsides of both approaches.
In the PICOT question presented, the intervention is the increase in LPN professionals and the comparison group is the increase in work hours. Each of these distinct approaches is discussed in the aforementioned studies. Seago et al. (2006) present intervention in hiring new LPN to help the understaffed hospitals, which aligns with one of my approaches to the question. The alternative presented in that paper is doing nothing and exploring other available methods of remedying the nurse shortage. The study by Rogers et al. (2004) presents the downsides to intervention through shift hour extensions and makes a case for reducing the overwork in employees. This assessment also supports my stance on the question, showcasing the risks and the long-term problems this approach includes. I think that overall, both articles support my claim and explain why the usage of LPN is advantageous to improving the process of healthcare delivery in the emergency department.
Method of Study
There are several differences in the manner the studies were conducted. Seago et al. (2006) summarize the findings of the study they previously conducted to understand their impact on the nursing practice. The original data was obtained through a variety of methods, including surveying, interviews, and using information from government agencies. The final article combines all of the applicable findings to determine the value of LPNs. The other study alternatively uses a single approach to data collection. The authors requested applications from willing nurses in hospitals, who were each given a logbook to detail their work routine. Rogers et al. (2004) collected information on hours worked, overtime, days off, sleep patterns, and the number of errors each participant made over two weeks. The information was gathered in the form of questionnaires, and the method was pilot-tested beforehand. The difference in the approaches of these studies is that the first has a larger amount of available information.
In regards to benefits and limitations, there are many points to consider. In the study on the effects of increased shifts, the participants were given free space to explain the peculiarities of their daily work and the errors they potentially made, leading to a more accurate representation of the results. All of the study data was also anonymous, meaning that the nurses could be honest with their experiences. The downside to this approach, however, is that no precautions could be taken against the participants lying or omitting some of the important details. The article by Seago et al. (2006) offered a large selection of data on the demographic composition of the nursing professionals, allowing for a thorough analysis of the topic and the prospects. The negative result of collecting such a large amount of data is that much of it would not be relevant in the context of a specific study, creating a need to sort and analyze a lot of information to form conclusions.
The Results of the Studies
The first study concludes by stating that the use of LPN’s can help in reducing the staff shortage in hospitals, although the costs of their training and hiring need to be taken into consideration. The topic of LPN qualified nurses needs more research to determine all of the benefits of using them. The second study summarises the findings by saying that nurses face an increased risk of error when working long shifts or overtime. A large number of errors present a danger to the well-being of patients and the healthcare industry.
There are two possible solutions to the PICOT question, both presenting their unique benefits and challenges. The increase in the work shift can help the existing personnel accomplish more tasks in their shift while giving more opportunities for failure. An increase in nursing positions can distribute the work more efficiently but will take both considerable time and funding. The positive outcome that should be prioritized is the improvement in the quality and speed of patient care. I predict that the use of trained professionals will be more beneficial to this cause, as the increase in work time correlates with medical errors of varying severity. The training and hiring of educated nurses present a strain on the budget but seem to be more productive in the overall picture. The articles I have chosen to mirror my conclusions, proving that this solution would be more effective. The first one reinforces the benefits of hiring LPN’s and raising new talent, and the second one states the downsides to longer shifts.
Rogers, A. E., Hwang, W.-T., Scott, L. D., Aiken, L. H., & Dinges, D. F. (2004). The working hours of hospital staff nurses and patient safety. Health Affairs, 23(4), 202–212. Web.
Seago, J. A., Spetz, J., Chapman, S., & Dyer, W. (2006). Policy Perspectives: Can the Use of LPNs Alleviate the Nursing Shortage? AJN, American Journal of Nursing, 106(7), 40–49. Web.