The Nursing Profession Post-Pandemic: 5 Ways Covid-19 Has Impacted the Future of Frontline Workers

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With the emergence of Covid-19, it became even more apparent that nurses are vital to the healthcare system. As hospitals rose to capacity, shifts for existing staff stretched nurses thin, with some working 36-hour stretches to help sick patients. Although hospitals have taken nurses for granted in the past, they’re now scrambling to find enough help to treat hoards of infected patients. Ultimately, COVID-19 changed attitudes concerning nursing as they put themselves on the frontline, risking their safety to keep communities healthy.  

With 2021 in full swing, medical staff are encountering unusual complications in the face of the prolonged pandemic, from sub-par protection to inadequate training to transitioning to telehealth. Though medical staffing jobs are surging, working to address nationwide shortages is of utmost importance as gaps continue to persist, affecting care quality and hospital efficiency. Ultimately, COVID-19 has permanently altered nursing and overall healthcare functions in the following ways. 

A greater awareness of nurses’ lack of support

All healthcare workers are subject to dangerous conditions and inadequate support from hospital executives. However, in particular, nurses feel the brunt of sub-par standards, continually putting themselves at risk, dealing with violent patients, understaffed facilities, and exposure risk. 

During COVID-19, nurses have faced unsafe conditions, lack of PPE, inadequate funding, and depleted resources, putting them in danger and forcing them to fend for themselves. Luckily, underpaid and underappreciated employees are fighting back, demanding support from medical facilities and their community.

Telehealth is becoming more prominent

Due to strict social distancing and quarantine orders, remote work has surged in popularity over the past year. However, most nurses on the front line didn’t have the option to stay home and away from others. To mitigate patient and staff needs and keep everyone safe, hospitals began implementing improved telehealth avenues, allowing staff to treat patients virtually.  

Virtual physician visits and treatment have resulted in increased opportunities for healthcare workers. With proper training, nurses can aid sick individuals without risking their health via face-to-face contact. 

Huge retirement numbers

Many nurses have left positions lacking proper support and safety protocols due to increased risk and stress levels. Despite skyrocketing patient numbers, subsequent support and resources didn’t improve, leading many nurses to feel unprotected and unsupported. If hospitals want to keep talented, qualified staff on board, they’ll need to adopt a protection plan and support incentivizing nurses to stay. 

Increase in nursing school competition

Many hospitals have needed to introduce hiring freezes to reduce risk to patients and staff. Likewise, nursing programs have cut the number of students for safety reasons. 

These new implementations have made nursing programs more competitive and lowered the expected number of graduates hired. With the removal of hiring restrictions, gaps in the nursing workforce are more likely to fill up quickly.

New rallying movements to support healthcare workers

Although unfortunate, the sub-par treatment of nurses has brought upon a surge of support from communities. Praise for healthcare professionals’ has increased as they tirelessly work to treat and protect sick individuals. Because of an outpour of support, many medical facilities feel pressure to provide improved accommodations and resources, enticing nurses and medical staff to stay put instead of jump ship. 

Conclusion

The pandemic shed light on several healthcare issues and introduced new concerns. It’s clear from new findings that COVID-19 changed the future of nursing for the better. Governments and the general public must commit to supporting nurses for all future endeavors, not just through the tail-end of the pandemic.