The nursing profession has a number of real issues that need to be addressed if nurses are going to thrive in the workplace. Unfortunately, the list of issues could take up a book.
Here are five of the most pressing issues in nursing that need attention. Again, even one of them could take thousands of words to explore, but opening the door to further discussion is a way to bring important consideration to what is really happening to working nurses.
Perhaps the worst problem with nursing is the prevalence of short staffing. It is hard on the nurse, unsafe for the patients, and ignored by management.
We need to take this bull by the horns and find ways to cut the ratios down. Governmental regulations may help, but it will take management to get a handle on how short staffing adversely effects the nursing profession and subsequently patient care.
The Lie of the Nursing Shortage
So many in the industry talk about the nursing shortage, but nurses know it isn’t true. It isn’t because there are not enough nurses; it is because the nurses that are licensed don’t want to work in the field anymore due to the stress.
New grads in some regions are unable to get jobs due to the glut of new nurses who are drawn to the field because of the high pay and the ability to make a difference. It comes as a shock when no jobs are available in certain areas, and yet other regions are unable to staff their units.
Crushing Student Loans
It takes a small fortune of student loans to make a nurse, and the reality of paying them back can seem unfair and excessive. Although this is a problem within many other professions, medical careers seem hardest hit because it takes so much schooling to be able to work.
Incentive programs and facility supported continuing education are great ideas, but they aren’t always available for everyone. More of these programs are necessary to help nurses get out from under the weight of crushing debt.
Call it what you want: nurse bullying or lateral violence. The truth is that it is a problem in just about every facility. Lateral violence is one nurse intentionally mistreating, ignoring, ostracizing, and ridiculing another nurse for the purpose of making them leave.
Most lateral violence springs from the other problems in nursing, such as short staffing. It is a direct result of over stressed nurses, and the only solution is to have sufficient education about how to recognize the signs of bullying.
Lack of Breaks
Nurses laugh at the idea of getting a lunch break on their shift, and many have commented that they often don’t even have time to relieve themselves. Due to the constant tasks, pressures, and interruptions the nurse faces, lunch breaks and bathroom breaks are simply not a priority.
This is a terrible habit for nurses because it ruins their ability to take care of themselves and take better care of the patient. Again, dealing with the other issues in nursing can help to mitigate the effect of this problem. If the unit wasn’t short staffed, the nurse wouldn’t be so busy and would be able to attend to simple human needs.