Appropriate Staffing Patterns and Skill Mixes, Essay Example
Staffing patterns are a list of occupations that are working in a specific industry. It is also a list of the industries which employ specific occupation. It is type and number or staff categories that are assigned to a particular unit or even department of any hospital or health care facility. The staffing pattern usually varies with the unit, department and the acuity levels of the patients. Due to the financial challenges being faced by many nursing homes, there are policies that are being put in place to curb this problem. The nursing homes are considering reducing the number of registered nurses staff in the favor of less skilled nursing staff. However, the skilled or registered nursing staffing is of great importance in ensuring high quality delivery of services. The change of staffing pattern is of great importance in the nursing sector, it is important to look at those factors that may be caused by the change of staffing pattern.
Some of the affected variables with the change of staffing patterns include the quality of the work being delivered and the quality of the outcome or work produced. The production efficiency is of great importance when addressing the issue of staffing pattern in the hospital or the nursing field. Hospitals have to come up with staffing strategies that will ensure that optimal production efficiencies are achieved. A great challenge which is encountered in the health care as far as staffing pattern is concerned is the quality of the services delivered. If the number of the registered and qualified staff is reduced so as to employ the non-skilled ones in the process of reducing the cost, then the quality of services is jeopardized. This is a big challenge that may even cost the reputation of the hospital and even cost the life of people (Hartz, 1989).
Among the areas where the labor intensive is of concern is health care. The labor cost accounts for a very high or great proportion of the total operating approximately 75 percent or even more. This has led to many health professionals and managers to come up with the effective mix of staff that is most achievable within the resources available. Several health systems around the world are coming up with a system that will increase quality or improve the quality as well as increase the cost containment in the process of reforming health sector. Therefore, the mix and the level of the deployed staff in delivering health care is a major element in the health sector. It is also a major determinant of the quality of services delivered. The issues of skill mix and staff mix is usually characterized by high cost hence needs a lot of caution when analyzing it. The challenges that go hand in hand with the mixing of the labor include the shortage of some skills in some particular professions. The reduction of cost per unit of the output and maintaining the productivity is also a major challenge the health sector. The greatest challenge of all is sustenance of the quality or even improving it while in unison trying to diminish the unit cost (Linda, 2000).
The mixing of the labor and the change of staffing pattern is also associated with training challenges after sometimes. This is to ensure that the staffs are up to task, this mainly happens when the employed staffs are not skilled experts in their field. The mixing skill is not only determined by the numbers, but it should at a great extent require quality assessment and the competence of the staff that are required in the mixing process. It should be noted that the mixing of the staff is not a solution in solving the challenges of the cost in the health sector, but other factors should also be taken into consideration like the capital equipments and maximum utilization of other resources. Improvement of staffing patterns in the day to day fluctuations of the patient dependency within the health care should also be looked upon.
Skill mixes being referred to as the mix of skill in the establishment, employees mix in the post; the skills combination at any specific time continues to be faced with challenges in the long run. The skill mix continues to result to some challenges which include the shortage of the staff in some departments. This is mainly due to the roles and activities they undertake, most of them are not up to the tasks and are unable to deliver quality services in the department they have been assigned. Due to skill mix in the health care departments, there results to some staff using their skills inappropriately. This is mainly due to the shortage of knowledge in their working area where they have no skills. The skill mix also results to understaffing of the skilled staff as they are mixed or replaced with unskilled ones. When some staffs are moved from one department to another, they move with their skills, and when some other staffs who are less skilled replaces them, then just a handful of those who are well skilled are left.
Skill mixes also results to changing roles among the staff; this is due to the change from one department to another hence the need of changing their specialty. The health sector in any hospital encompasses a challenge of reduced quality of service among the new assigned staff. In the process of replacing those staffs who have moved out of the medical department, sometimes it becomes impossible to recruit the medical staff into those vacant positions; therefore they end up mixing the staff so as to fill those vacancies. This serves as an alternative of filing the vacant positions towards solving a problem in the staffing solution.
Skill mixes in the long run results to several advantages or benefits which include the cost cutting in the operations. This is another of the beneficial result of skill mixing and the change of the staffing pattern. This seems to be the single major advantage or benefit associated with the skill mix, the change of the staffing pattern as well results to reduced cost of operations. Although not a major advantage or benefit, the skill mix and staffing pattern helps in reducing the labor shortage in the health care areas. The staff employed or mixed in other areas usually helps in reducing the shortage being experienced due to the movement of some staff. The skill mixing has always been used as a policy of developing the combination of skills that is best in the health care sector. It has also been used to ease the pressure that arises due to inadequacy of the staff in the health sector. It addresses the shortage of the services in this sector. The skill mixing also helps in expanding the scope of the services as well as filling the health needs and improving the care towards the patient. The staffing pattern still plays a key role in making certain that there is distribution of knowledge across all the staff, it enhances the pass of knowledge from highly skilled person’s to less skilled people across the health care department.
There has been found out that the higher the number of qualified and registered nurses, the lower the mortality rate among the patients. Therefore, when there is change in the staffing pattern, there is very likely to be an increased mortality rates among the patients, there is due to low skills that those unregistered nurses have as compared to the skilled and registered nurses. It also ensures that there are expanded skills and knowledge among the staff, the range of responsibility also increases among the staffs who are newly introduced into the system as they interact with the experienced staff. Staffing pattern and skill mixes also enables the new employees to get an opportunity of acquiring new competencies as well as expanding their tasks on taking up the responsibilities.
The challenges behind the staffing pattern and skill mixes in the national and political environment include both negative and positive challenges. The staffing pattern sometimes results to reduced value of the health that is given in the health centers, when a large number of health personnel’s are incorporated in the system of the health care, there is some significant decrease in the value of the services that are given to the sick people. The general result of the country’s health reduces to some small significant as the new staff are trying to gain the knowledge and skills. This usually costs the country due to the reduced health conditions of the population and the risks it posses to them. On the other hand, the skill mixes reduces the cost of giving extra training to the staff, this is usually substituted by the interaction of the staffs that are skilled and experienced with the newly employed staffs. Skill mixes act as the best way of enabling the less trained and skilled nurses to be able to gather knowledge and skills from the highly skilled nurses who the work with. This at one point enables the government to save a lot of money that otherwise would have been used to train them. Politically, the country’s reputation reduces when a lot of les skilled staffs are incorporated in the nursing system; this is because their work force as well as their work quality is not up to the expected level (Rassin & Silner, 2007).
The staffing pattern and skill mixes usually has resulted to some impacts in the national and also political state of some country. This has occurred mainly in such a way that the government ends up being blamed for interfering with the staffing pattern due to fear that the country would drown into a state of declined health conditions of its citizens. This may result to interfered health conditions of the citizens, therefore, a lot of care need to be taken so a to ensure that as the staffing pattern is being carried out, the consequences that result are not severe and do not affect the people within the country. Although there are both advantages and disadvantages, it is not clear which one outdo the other when it comes to staffing pattern and skill mixes. There are both pros and cons in each case hence it is not possible to do away with one of those. This is because although they are disadvantageous in a way, they are beneficial on the other hand. Staffing pattern and skill mixes helps in catering those areas with the shortage of staff in the health centers within the country. This is a very crucial process that helps in curbing the staff shortage within the country. Increased staff within the community helps in easing the services shortage within the areas where there is decreased number of staff. This as well helps in giving the services to as many people as possible who are in need of it; it becomes impossible for any state to have enough of the health sector staffs hence the need to mix them in the process and with the aim of reducing the shortage within a country. The volume of care provided in the country increases within a country, decreased cost among the residents in a country and increased quality of the services provided within a country. It has also been argued that the higher the number of experienced nurses or staff, the higher the productivity and therefore reduced overall cost in the government or state expenditures.
On the social environments, the staffing pattern assists in the interaction of skilled and less skilled staff in the nursing field. The social problems associated with lack of the social requirements and other basic requirements in life. Increased number of staff within the society helps in resolving all the problems which occur as a result of the reduced or shortage of staff. When the number of staff is increased within the health sectors, the number of health problems reduces significantly within the society (Shamian, 1998).
The staffing pattern and skill mixes helps an individual to increase the skills when working and interacting with the skilled and skilled personnel. It provides an opportunity to a person with fewer skills to get an opportunity of gaining in details what is required of him as he continues to work with those who are rich of experience. The staffing pattern and skill mixes enables a person to gain the skills in details as well as solutions that are hard to get when one is working with his fellow colleagues who they are in the same skills levels. The skills mixing also goes provides a chance to the staff be able to interact and help each other towards solving problems which are hard top solve when one is working alone. The staffing pattern and skill mixes enables a person to be able to increase his courage especially when working with skilled people. The level of courage is built up enabling a person to be more perfect and also able to master the skills of his work. When working with skilled staff, one is able to develop tactics that are required towards solving the problems or even coming up with concrete solutions even to the very complex situations or problems. The issue of skill mixes and staffing pattern has both advantages and disadvantages in which none outdo any other and therefore it cannot be said to be beneficial or bad.
Hartz, A.J. (1989). Hospital characteristics and mortality rates. The New England Journal of Medicine, 321(89), 1720-1725.
Linda, M.H. (2000, June). Skill mix decision making for nursing. Retrieved March 6, 2010, from http://www.ichrn.com/publications/policyresearch/Skill_Mix_EN_web.pdf
Rassin, M. & Silner, D. (2007), Trends in nursing staff allocation: the nurse-to-patient ratio and skill mix issues in Israel. International Nursing Review, 54(1), 63-69.
Shamian, J. (1998). Skill mix and clinical outcomes. Canadian Operating Room Nursing Journal, 16(8), 36-41.
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