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Recognizing the Signs of an Understaffed Healthcare Facility

The healthcare staffing shortage has been a continued problem for generations, with recent years seeing an increase in the focus on the implications of the shortage. For this reason, it is not uncommon for all medical facilities to experience a shortage of healthcare professionals at some point.

Periodical shortages are normal as waves of different viruses pass through areas. While having a shortage of healthcare professionals in a medical facility is normal and even expected to a degree, recent factors have led to an increase in the shortage severity. It is estimated that 1.1 million nurses are needed in 2022 to combat the shortage left by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) also predicts that globally, we may be short up to 5.7 million nurses by the year 2030.

If you’re interested in learning more facts about the nursing shortage, read our last blog here.

Keep reading to learn more about signs that might mean your medical or healthcare facility is short-staffed.

Frequent errors:

One way that having overworked staff can often present itself is by having frequent mistakes. During a shortage of nurses (or any healthcare provider), less staff means that those who are working are working more and rushing to keep up with demand. Often this means that small details on the necessary tasks will be more likely to slip through the cracks, causing more errors or mistakes and more unsatisfied patients.

Sometimes when mistakes are more frequent and severe, legal action can be taken. To avoid consistent errors, one idea is to redistribute shifts among the staff so that being overworked can be avoided. As shortages occur, it is important to prioritize positions that must be filled first and then decide on which positions help enhance the efficiency.

Burn out:

Another sign that your facility is short-staffed is employees showing signs of burnout. This can be demonstrated in many ways, but the most common are asking for more days off, being quickly agitated by other employees and patients, constantly being tired, decreased productivity, and detachment from the company.

High rates of employee burnout can lead to an increased rate of turnover, which can make it challenging to hire and keep staff. In these cases, it can be beneficial to consult with a staffing agency to help on both a temporary and long-term basis.

If you’re interested in reading more about the benefits of using healthcare staffing agencies, read one of our past blogs here.

AnyPlace MD has access to tens of thousands of clinical staff including nurses, medical technicians, and other healthcare support staff in all 50 states, and internationally. Call today to speak with a representative to learn more about our staffing services.


Another sign that a facility might be understaffed, is staff becoming overworked to the point that they have less time to give quality care to patients. This quickly becomes apparent to patients as they often complain about being ignored and longer wait times, or even the cleanliness or standards of the facility.

Patients might also make note of any mistakes that are being made and might try to handle things on their own which can turn into both a safety and legal issue. Providing quality care and ensuring both staff and patient safety should be a top priority, so it can be beneficial to review where it would be most feasible to hire additional staff. Sometimes it can make the most sense to lower spending in a different area to allow for new hires to help in other areas.

Injuries in the workplace:

Again, as facilities become short-staffed, it is common for the current employees to struggle with the increased workload. This often means that employees might think that they can take on tasks that they are not equipped or qualified to do. One result of this is more employee injuries occurring, which in turn can mean those who become injured are unable to work for a period of time, leading to a facility being even more understaffed.

staff requesting help:

Finally, a medical or healthcare facility might be understaffed if more staff are requesting assistance. If employees are concerned about being able to complete tasks or are feeling stressed or overworked, these are all key indicators that the facility is understaffed, and the remaining staff is being overexerted.

It’s important to remember when employees are consistently tired, they are unable to perform well, which ultimately affects the care they give and the facility. The staff often understands the situation of the facility, sometimes better than management, so it is essential to trust that they know what is necessary to for them perform their jobs well.

quality healthcare staffing:

While all healthcare facilities experience staffing shortages at some point (and even more now following the COVID-19 pandemic), it is essential that steps be taken to alleviate the problem before it escalates. Recognizing the signs that your facility is struggling with a shortage can help you know when to take action to rectify the situation.

While it may not be possible to solve the issues right away, taking steps in the right direction help protect your staff, the patients they treat, and the reputation of the facility.

Healthcare staffing agencies can help to reduce the workload on staff, while also allowing for a broader reach of qualified candidates so it can be easier to find the perfect person for each position. Agencies also offer the benefit of being able to provide reliable support whenever you need it, whether you are looking for a temporary or long-term position.

Do you recognize any of these signs? Looking to learn more about how a healthcare staffing agency can help you? Call AnyPlace MD today at 855-476-5824 to speak with a representative to find a solution that works best for your healthcare facility.

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E. Randy Eckert, MD
Medical Director

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Brenda Thompson,
Vice President of Human Resources

With over 20 years of Human Resource and Operations experience, Brenda brings her expertise and specialized skill set to Dental Health Management Solutions, AnyPlace MD and AnyPlace Audiology.  Her successful career includes working as an Executive Director in senior living communities and advancing her Human Resources career to Vice President of Human Resources. Brenda has a specific style and approach to balance risk-management and employee satisfaction.

Shane Stevens - AnyPlace MD- COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Solutions

Shane Stevens

Throughout my career, I have served and volunteered with several organizations including serving as an advisory board member for Concordia University Texas, an annual participant and supporter of Hounds for Heroes, the Special Olympics, and many others. I have also served as a deacon at the Austin Baptist Church since 2009. Shane earned a BS in Long-Term Health Care Administration from Texas State University in San Marcos.