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Posted on October 8th, 2012, by

Today, nursing practice plays an extremely important role in the health care system. However, the modern health care system faces a problem of a considerable job cuts, especially among the nursing staff. At first glance, job cuts are an essential measure to save costs spent on the national health care system, which cannot afford extensive personnel expenditures. On the other hand, consequences of job cuts of the nursing staff may be extremely dangerous since it is the health and life of patients that is at stake. In such a situation, many nurses face a problem of disparity between their professional career and their actual position, when they face a risk of losing their job. Unfortunately, it is not only nurses but also patients, who become victims of unreasonable job cuts among the nursing staff. The current policy aiming at a considerable reduction of the nursing staff is apparently erroneous and numerous studies prove the fact that well-qualified, equipped and trained nursing staff is an essential condition of the effective treatment of patients, especially if patients suffer from serious diseases such as colon cancer.

On analyzing the current situation in the health care system at large and at my workplace in particular, the progress of the economic crisis becomes obvious. In actuality, today, the national health care system is in a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, there are considerable advances in the development of new methods of treatment of such serious diseases as colon cancer, new methods of rehabilitation of patients after surgery and therapy. Moreover, there are a lot of well-qualified specialists, including nurses, who can provide essential health care services of the high quality for patients suffering from such diseases as cancer. On the other hand, many hospitals have to save costs and cut jobs, in order to minimize their expenses and to maintain the provision of health care services to patients. The reason for job cuts is the lack of funding and financial resources to maintain hospitals and modern health care system. In other words, the national health care system is running out of money and nurses become the first who are wasted for the sake of salvation of the national health care system.

However, it seems as if policy-makers have chosen a totally erroneous way of the development of the health care system as well as certain hospitals where job cuts among the nursing staff occur en mass. In fact, before taking decisions concerning job cuts in hospitals, it is necessary to analyze effects of such decisions. In actuality, policy-makers pay little attention to effects of reduction of the nursing personnel since they believe that nurses, being the least qualified specialists and having a relatively low rank in the organizational hierarchy of hospitals, will not be as important for patients as physicians, for instance. However, they forget that it is nurses who spend most of the time with patients and the reduction of the nursing staff will directly affect patients and the quality of health care services they receive.

Such a situation is particularly dangerous in the environment where patients suffer from cancer or similar extremely dangerous diseases.

From my professional experience, I know how important the nursing care is for patients suffering from colon cancer, for instance. These patients need the constant support from the part of nurses, who do ease not only their physical sufferings but also nurses help to solve their psychological problems, which patient with cancer have in abundance. The professional assistance from the part of nurses is essential for the recovery and treatment of patients with cancer, while, being deprived of nursing care, patients face a risk of complications and consistent deterioration of their physical health.

In this respect, numerous studies prove the idea, which is evident for me as a practicing nurse, the idea of the positive effects of the nursing staff on patients. For instance, the study conducted by Jack Needleman and other specialists has proved the fact that a higher proportion of hours of nursing care provided by registered nurses and a greater number of hours of care by registered nurses per day are associated with better care for hospitalized patients (Needleman et al., 2002). In actuality, this means that the nursing staff should contain a larger number of nurses to provide longer hours of nursing care for patients. In stark contrast, job cuts among the nursing staff will lead not to longer hours of nursing care, which have a positive effect on the treatment of patients, but, instead, it is likely to lead to the reduction of hours of nursing care. Hence, patients will not receive sufficient nursing care that may have a negative impact on their health.

At the same time, it is obvious that a large number of nurses does not necessarily mean a high quality of services provided for patients by the nursing staff. At this point, the question of the professional qualification of nurses naturally arises. In this respect, the professional training of nurses is extremely important since nurses need to constantly improve their professional skills and enlarge their professional knowledge. The qualification of nurses is an essential condition of the quality of nursing care they provide for patients. Moreover, the low qualification of nurses does not only make nurses useless, but also dangerous since their unprofessional work can represent a serious threat to the health and life of patients, especially if they work with patients suffering from cancer and other serious diseases.

In this respect, it is possible to refer to Lynn Unruh, who argued that the effective health care is based on the adequate staffing, balanced workloads, while nurse staffing is particularly important (Unruh, 2008). Consequently, this study proves that nursing staffing is crucial for the overall success of treatment of patients and delivery of health care services. Therefore, hospitals should develop professional skills and abilities of nurses to ensure their high qualification and professional progress.

Thus, in the current situation, it is obvious that the nursing care is crucial for patients’ health, especially in the environment where nurses work with patients suffering from serious diseases, such as cancer. On the other hand, hospitals cannot always afford a large number of nurses being employed. Consequently, it is possible to recommend decision-makers to focus on the qualification of nurses working in hospitals and only after that to take decisions concerning job cuts among the nursing staff. Otherwise, hospitals and the national health care system will face a risk of losing well-qualified, professional nurses and consistent deterioration of the quality of nursing care. Anyway, it is necessary to minimize job cuts by all means.

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