Nurse Managers' Responses to Staff Nurse Shortages: A Phenomenological Study

Nurse Managers' Responses to Staff Nurse Shortages: A Phenomenological Study

Author: 
Rani D. Raju
Program of study: 
Ph.D./NUR
Abstract: 
Nurse shortages are an ongoing problem. The unpredictable nature of healthcare and patient census adds demands to the nurse manager’s role to manage staffing levels. To meet the demand, each hospital follows different assignment systems such as the team model or primary care model. In both models it is the nurse managers’ responsibility to find adequate staffing. The unpredictable nature of patient census puts nurse managers in a stressful situation because there is always an imbalance between the supply and demand. Recent research suggests that there has been an increasing report of high turnover rates and burnout leading to shortages among nurses especially for nurse managers in the acute care hospital setting. The purpose of this qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of nurse managers with regard to nurse shortages in the Mid-West region. Further, in alignment with the conceptual framework combining Newman’s Systems Model (NSM) and Kanter’s empowerment theory this study aimed to illuminate experiences of nurse managers during nursing shortages. One-on-one interviews with ten nurse managers allowed them to tell their stories describing their lived experiences during nursing shortages. Nvivo11™ software was used to organize the data in search of common themes. VanManen’s research method was used to analyze the data. Analysis of data helped to develop themes: actions taken by Nurse Managers during a nursing shortage, stress and coping for nurses and nurse managers during a nursing shortage, and Nurse Mangers’ experience with support from leadership during a nursing shortage. The study provides health care administrators and nurse leaders with additional insight into strategies used by nurse leaders to deal with the nurse shortages on their unit.
Dedication: 
First and foremost, this dissertation is dedicated to my parents, A.S. Raju & R. Raja Lakshmi (late). Thank you for giving me life. Thank you for giving me a sensitive heart and guiding me to be a nurse. Without your guidance today I wouldn’t be a nurse. Thank you for giving me an inquisitive brain. Without these, I would not be obtaining this penultimate degree. I also want to thank you both for supporting my plan to migrate to the USA. Without your moral and financial support, it would not be possible for me to go through the selection exams successfully and be eligible to apply for a job in the USA and pursue PhD. To R. Gubendra Sethupathy, my brother. Thank you very much for supporting our parents in taking the decision to send me for the Master’s program. Without that degree it would not possible for me to obtain this PhD degree. You laid the stepping stone to my success. To Mrs. S. Sagunthala my sister, to S. P.T. Suresh Kumar my brother in law, to Mrs. Malarvizhi & Shiva Murugan my cousins for constantly feeding the curious thoughts and encouraging me to pursue the higher studies. I thank you very much for your kind support right from the enrollment and throughout this doctoral journey. With your constant and unmeasured love & support made it possible for me to obtain this highly prestigious degree. Last but never the least I want to thank my nephew, S. Santhosh Thangaraj for providing me the continuous support ever since I had enrolled in the program. Without your support obtaining this esteemed degree is impossible.
Acknowledgements: 
First, I must thank my dissertation chair and committee members. My special acknowledgement and heart-felt thanks goes to my dissertation chair, Dr. Anne Brett. Thank you very much for believing in me and taking me as your student. My sincere thanks to you for supporting me by taking time to read and to provide feedback. Thank you for guiding me in this doctoral journey. Without your patient, timely support, and guidance it would not be possible for me to cross each bump in this doctoral journey. My sincere acknowledgement goes to my committee members Dr. Charlene Romer and Dr. Sharon Beasley. Thank you to Dr. Charlene Romer and Dr. Sharon Beasley for your expert phenomenological eye on this research and kind support. To the Executive Director of IONL, Sharon Rangel for facilitating the study and to amazing nursing leaders of AMITA Health Hinsdale Hospitals, Dr. Shawn Tyrell, Lynn Wagner, and Robin Alvarado for keeping an eye on my academic progress. To Robin Alvarado, thank you very much for being flexible with my schedule. Without your help and support it would not be possible for me to obtain this penultimate degree. A huge note of gratitude goes to Benjamin Singer, DNP Martha Rice, RN and Vini Oliyapurathu. Thank you for providing me the necessary moral support from day one in this organization. I thank you very much for being a good listener and providing valuable and inquisitive tips when I faced challenges in this bumpy doctoral journey. To nurse managers who contributed to this study, my words of gratitude will never be enough. Thank you for opening your hearts, and minds, and entrusting me your inspirational stories, thoughts, and feelings. To all nurse managers please remember to take care of your selves.