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Staffing involving mental health nurses is a complex issue and requires an evaluation of the issues that continue to evolve throughout the profession. It is necessary to address some of the challenges that impact mental health nursing and how staffing continues to be a difficult issue in many ways. The staffing matrix in mental health nursing must be identified through the development of a method that will determine the impact of different interventions and how they are likely to influence nursing practice and outcomes. The questionnaire instrument must address the following research question: Does specific training provide nurses who treat mental health patients reduce the retention rate by less than five percent over a six-month period?
The use of a questionnaire instrument may serve as an effective means of understanding the dynamics of nurse staffing and to determine how nurses feel about their roles as mental health providers. The survey instrument must address critical questions regarding quality of patient care and its relationship to training for mental health patients; in addition, the questions must address skillset mix for registered nurses and how quality of care is contingent upon these skills over time (Chin How, 2013). Questions may include the following: 1) Does a diverse RN skillset translate into greater quality of care for mental health patients; and 2) Which skills are essential to treat mental health patients effectively? These questions and others may have an impact on how to better address the needs of mental health patients to improve patient care quality on a consistent basis.
The questionnaire should including questions that will analyze staff attitudes and the primary contributors to job satisfaction, as well as the characteristics that impact job dissatisfaction for this group, both before and after the implementation of a staffing matrix. It is imperative to recognize these limitations and to identify the reasons behind turnover and what prompts this change within the practice environment. Nurse burnout and turnover rate must be a primary focus of the questionnaire because it is likely to occur in the mental health field more frequently due to the stress of working with this patient population (Salyers, Rollins, Kelly, Lysaker, & Williams, 2013) .Nurse skill set must be identified in the questionnaire as a means of understanding what is required to treat mental health patients under the best possible circumstances that will positively impact patient outcomes.
One of the issues to consider with staffing for mental health nurses is to be aware of compassion fatigue and how this may also contribute to increased burnout for some nurses to the extent that it reduces quality of care (Ray, Wong, White, & Heaslip, 2013). Under these conditions, it is possible that mental health nurses may be influenced by the burden of mental health patients and the level of care and treatment that is required for this population, and this reflects a need to better evaluate the conditions under which nurses are able to care for these patients with an increased level of stress (Ray et.al, 2013). Under these conditions, some nurses may be limited by their own level of burnout and dissatisfaction within the mental health field. In addition, patient satisfaction may also be limited in some respects and may require further examination of the different areas whereby patient care is limited by the nurses who are employed and their perceptions of the practice environment. As a result, patient discharge surveys must be evaluated pre- and post-change in order to determine the effectiveness of any changes that have occurred. Patient discharge surveys must also evaluate nurses in the context of their ability to exercise skills that will positively impact patient care quality for this population.
It is of critical importance to include staff attitudes and perceptions of the nursing experience as part of the survey instrument, as this reflects any potential for change that could have an impact on this group of patients. In addition, it requires an evaluation of patient attitudes and perceptions in order to determine if nurses are a direct influence on their beliefs regarding quality of care and treatment. The survey must identify areas such as staff turnover, which is a complex process that also influences how care and treatment are perceived by patients. Turnover may be likely to impact mental health patients because it is difficult to care for this population without the appropriate skillset in place that will ultimately influence quality of care in different ways. The survey instrument must be able to capture the most relevant issues for nurses who work with mental health patients and to provide some perspective regarding what steps are required to ensure that patients are well taken care of at this level so that their health is not compromised in any way. Questions must address quality of care in a specific context and determine the skills required to meet expectations for mental health patients in order to measure improvements in their health status.
Data analysis must be conducted by compiling the responses provided within the survey instrument
Once the data is generated, patterns of behavior, attitudes, and core values must be determined to see if they have a relationship with these responses
A summary of findings must be written that will determine the overall effectiveness of the survey instrument
The chosen survey instrument must be comprised of questions that will have a positive impact on the nurses who work in the mental health field, including the recognition of their needs and wants at the highest possible level to promote greater satisfaction within the field. This process will demonstrate a need to be open and willing to modify staffing as necessary and to optimize working conditions in order to positively impact patients. This process will be effective in meeting the needs of these patients and in supporting a dynamic of care and treatment that will provide positive and meaningful support to mental health patients and that will impact their own level of patient satisfaction while receiving care and treatment from nurses who work within this field.
Chin How, L. (2013). The Impact of Nurse Staffing on Quality of Patient Care in Acute Care Settings: An integrative review paper. Singapore Nursing Journal, 40(4), 10-23.
Salyers, M. P., Rollins, A. L., Kelly, Y. F., Lysaker, P. H., & Williams, J. R. (2013). Job satisfaction and burnout among VA and community mental health workers. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 40(2), 69-75.
Ray, S. L., Wong, C., White, D., & Heaslip, K. (2013). Compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue, work life conditions, and burnout among frontline mental health care professionals. Traumatology, 19(4), 255.
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