Nursing is a high-workload profession where nurses find themselves juggling various roles. They not only have to provide quality care in a comparatively stressful environment but must also deal with challenges that come along with this profession.
Straight off the bat, nursing is not an easy profession. From dealing with patient behavior to probable exposure to illnesses, nurses are faced with various challenges throughout their careers.
Luckily, if there are hurdles, there’re solutions as well. Let’s look at how nurses can overcome common hurdles they face every day.
1. Pursuing continuing education:
As we’ve discussed before, nurses don’t often have time to commit to other essential things in their lives because of their work.
Long shifts plus overtime don’t leave enough space for nurses to think about their career growth. This also affects their decision about continuing education and pursuing specialized degrees.
Advanced education is one of the best ways to climb the career ladder and explore other opportunities. Sometimes, a nurse may discover that their chosen major is not for them.
If they don’t have time to clarify their career trajectory, they might feel suffocated and burnt out in their job.
One of the best solutions for nurses to commit to continuing education is online degrees. Numerous prestigious institutes offer opportunities for nurses to pursue advanced degrees online without compromising their duties and job.
Nurses can work towards career development through degrees like an Online RN to BSN program to explore their specialty.
Continuing education is vital for nurses who wish to have a dynamic career in this profession. Online degrees help nurses balance school and work life.
2. Long working hours:
Nurses and doctors often have to work through long and arduous shifts. A 12-hour shift can suck the life out of a person, especially if you are looking after patients, writing charts, dealing with patient families, and performing other duties without a break.
A busy schedule with additional overtime can lead to a quick burnout, which can compromise the care provided to the patients.
Pressurizing nurses to give their best in long, exhausting working hours is indirectly putting both the nurses and the patients at risk.
Even though long shifts aren’t suitable for all professions, healthcare is a field where help must be present 24/7.
While we can’t completely eradicate the long-shift trend from hospitals, nurses can do a few things to help them get through a tough shift.
Nurses must take breaks during a long shift and unwind to perform better.
They should also be vigilant in delegating tasks and sharing the load while looking for their health.
3. Staff shortage:
According to the data provided by Science Daily, about 40% of nurses are over the age of 50. This means that the healthcare industry will struggle with the aging population and retirements, which will create an imbalance in healthcare labor.
Even though the nursing profession is seeing an appealing growth rate in the coming decade, there’s still a decline in the nursing staff in the past few years.
The current pandemic has done nothing but worsens the situation, with a good percentage of staff divided over factors like public violence, mandatory jabs, and hazardous working environment.
The shortage of nursing staff creates pressure on the existing ones leading them to quicker burnout and exhaustion.
While there’s no immediate or definite solution to this problem, what nurses can do at the moment is to voice their concerns over how to balance working hours and nurse-patient ratios.
Organizations should invest more in automizing the system and empowering nurse leaders to help new nurses ease into the role to overcome the staff shortage.
4. Workplace violence:
Sadly, professionals who dedicate their lives to saving other people’s lives are often subjected to violence and misbehavior.
Workplace violence is a common challenge in nursing as families and loved ones of patients tend to blame the medical staff for tragic outcomes.
According to an American Nurse Today article published in 2018, approximately 67% of all nonfatal injuries caused by violence occur in the healthcare industry or setting.
Most workplace violence such as bullying, verbal abuse, and even physical assault goes unreported, which further diminishes the morale of the nursing staff, who are generally the ones closest to the patients.
One of the first things that nurses should do to cope with workplace violence is to report it to the management as soon as possible.
Every nurse’s the right to work in a safe, healthy, and positive environment to ensure the highest quality of patient care.
Nurses must keep records of violent instances to force the management to take action. Nurses already work in a stressful environment.
Adding the trauma of bullying and violence will further affect patient outcomes and high turnover rates.
5. Shift cancellation:
Being canceled at the last-minute means losing pay and hours, followed by a messed-up schedule. Shift cancellation is a common problem in nursing that comes with the per diem “by the day” scheduling system.
While this system allows nurses to choose their hours, the biggest issue is nurse cancellation, which can be due to internal staff call-ins, census changes, etc.
Shift cancellation is a reality that should be addressed without compromising nurses’ independence and flexibility.
Shift cancellations can be addressed in several ways. This includes building strong internal relationships to instill effective communication to minimize last-minute cancellations.
Nurses can communicate their commitments to employers once a strong connection is built. This will allow the cancellation instances to lessen without affecting the nurse’s independent lifestyle.
The healthcare industry has a long way to guarantee a 100% positive working environment for all medical professionals, especially nurses.
The nursing profession is challenging with less time for breaks and sleep and more time spent dealing with complex patients and their families.
It is crucial for a positive patient outcome that the hurdles nurses face in their profession are addressed seriously, and practical solutions are provided.
The organization’s responsibility is to ensure that the nursing staff is working in the best of health, both mentally and physically.