Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Interdisciplinary Health Programs

First Advisor

Pamela Wadsworth

Second Advisor

Cassie Lopez-Jeng

Third Advisor

Jessica Cataldo


Healthcare is an industry in which staff is imperative. No matter the advancement of technology, people are always needed to fulfill certain roles that are crucial for the patient’s quality of care and safety. Adequate staffing is a fundamental component of healthcare. As safety is a top priority for patients and healthcare workers, it is important to understand how this is compromised when there is inadequate staffing on the floor. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced retention rates as employees reached burnout during a time of distress and uncertainty. As hospital units were flooded with patients becoming increasingly ill, the safety of the frontline workers was on the line. Having a staffing shortage was not a new concept even before the pandemic. For decades, several facilities across the United States have been suffering from healthcare workers resigning from their jobs. This research aims to analyze the causes and outcomes of staff shortages as well as possible solutions to this rising issue.

The research includes various studies which highlight the outcomes of staff shortages such as patient incidents, medication errors, and staff burnout. Patient falls are highly likely to occur when there is less staff available to escort patients. Staff being assigned additional workloads in place of an absent employee may cause extreme stress and lead to inattentive medication errors. Due to high stress, healthcare workers are prone to reaching burnout and depression.

The various solutions to maintain staff retention may vary in possibility by facility. Customizing strategies per facility, permitting international graduates to practice in the United State with minimal additional training, and establishing countywide licenses are a few solutions to help mitigate the problem. A major finding of this research involves valuing the input of employees is a strong solution to increase job satisfaction, leading to optimal patient care quality. With the quality of care a patient receives serves as a top priority, having adequate staffing is a significant step in reaching this goal.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access