Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021


According to the United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast: A Revisit published in the May/June 2018 issue of the American Journal of Medical Quality, a shortage of registered nurses is projected to spread across the country between 2016 and 2030. Surveyed nurses see the shortage in the future as a catalyst for increasing stress on nurses (98%), lowering patient care quality (93%) and causing nurses to leave the profession (93%) (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2021). A thorough literature review was conducted, and 40 studies were reviewed. Common themes that emerged include: high nurse to patient ratios increased the risk for hospital acquired infections, higher levels of understaffing are associated with higher mistreatment rates, and there is a decrease in patient outcomes associated with nurse understaffing. A set of guidelines have been developed to assist the nursing staff during a shortage of nurses or nursing technicians.