The challenges of a nursing shortage are not new, but the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the problem causing significant strain on organizations. On Sunday, August 22, 2021, the New York Times reported the impact of the nursing shortage on Ocean Springs Hospital in Mississippi. The hospital is part of the 500-bed Singing River Health System with 169 unfilled nursing positions, forcing administration to reduce inpatient bed capacity by 30%. With fewer beds for admissions, the Ocean Springs Emergency Department is overcrowded, with some very sick patients waiting in their cars and ambulances holding patients in the parking lot. The article describes the strain on healthcare workers and the many challenges hospitals face when there isn’t enough staff, especially RNs required to care for patients.  Although the article is focused on the nursing shortage, organizations are dealing with healthcare shortages in several key areas that contribute directly and indirectly to patient care. 

Solving the shortage of healthcare workers will take time; in the meantime, there should be focused efforts to ease the burden of work of front-line healthcare staff. Now more than ever, organizations must ensure that clinical and operational workflows are focused and efficient. Most processes are complex and impacted by multiple variables such as, but not limited to reluctance to change, unquestioned past practices, adequate staffing and skill mix, the physical layout of the department, technology and/or the lack thereof, workflow, and constraints of other departments. Simplifying processes is not always a simple undertaking often requiring valuable time and resources to assess, redefine and implement changes. AMS can assist your teams with this important work.

Over the last 10 years, AMS has worked with more than 200 clients performing operational assessments that are focused on ensuring each organization is functioning efficiently and its teams are performing optimally. Your organization can be confident that our team of experienced AMS consultants will work with your leadership team and staff in a highly collaborative and engaging way to perform assessments and identify key workflows and opportunities for improvement, recommend improvement strategies, and provide implementation support. AMS can facilitate high-level participation of your interdisciplinary teams, ensure all stakeholders and ancillary stakeholders are involved in the process to map the complexity of the current state, identify all real and potential wasted steps in the process, challenge current assumptions, introduce best practices, and encourage innovation to streamline workflows.

We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about how AMS can assist your organization’s efforts to ease the burden of work as you navigate the uncertainties of the pandemic and the healthcare labor shortages that are impacting the care, treatment, and services provided by your organization.