The nursing profession is one of the most demanding but satisfying healthcare-based professions out there. The former president of the USA, Barrack Obama, had tons of praise for the American nursing workforce and once said that they are the driving force behind the United States healthcare system. The healthcare industry, in general, has its fair share of problems. However, the nursing profession compounds it even more.
The fact of the matter is, these problems decrease job satisfaction tenfold and result in a challenging working environment, making it challenging for them to provide their patients high-quality care. Some of these workplace issues are long shifts, workplace violence, short staffing, exposure to infectious diseases, and much more.
And, for nurses to thrive in such a complex working environment and work with excellent efficiency, they have to do their best to overcome these health problems on a day-to-day basis. It is the reason why some candidates shy away from the nursing profession and go for other healthcare-based careers instead.
That said, let us take a detailed look at some of these issues and how to overcome them.
Acquiring further education
In the nursing world, individuals have to remain competent and up-to-date with the latest nursing practices and treatment methods at all times. And to achieve such a feat, they have to acquire further education and relevant specialized certifications. However, additional education benefits both the individuals and their respected medical facility.
But, it is tough for nursing professionals to take out extra time from their busy work schedules to attend classes. Plus, their already existing work-life balancing issues compound to it. Therefore, taking the further education route to obtain more nursing knowledge is extremely difficult.
Nursing professionals can enroll in an online terminal degree in nursing instead of a campus-based nursing degree. These nursing degree programs and certifications are available by the tons online, and aspiring nursing professionals can take them up without having a single worry of affecting their professional careers.
They are great for nursing professionals who want to work while acquiring specialized nursing skills and knowledge in the comfort of their homes.
Politics in the workplace
Politics will always exist in any work environment, be it the nursing, engineering, or business professions. However, if you combine workplace politics with the already existing problems in the nursing profession, you will have a recipe for disaster.
Politics in the nursing profession are some of the worst ones around. These include; gossiping, bullying, sexual harassment, taking credit for other nursing professional’s efforts, gender inequality, and much more.
The best approach you can take is to distance yourself from people known to cause these issues entirely. In addition, you should try to be as neutral as possible and avoid confrontation with the senior nursing staff. Also, if you are hell-bent on becoming a nurse but want to stay away from such politics, consider becoming a travel nurse.
These nursing professionals move from hospital to hospital and aren’t around long enough to fall victim to workplace politics. Plus, it will give you an excellent opportunity to travel the world and work with a diverse population.
Exposure to infectious diseases and viruses
The sole responsibility of a nursing professional is to care for and look after sick patients on a day-to-day basis. So naturally, such a thing presents a danger of contracting infectious viruses and diseases from their patients- Not to mention the ongoing health issues of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, to avoid contracting these deadly viruses and diseases, nursing professionals can take a few preventative precautions. Some of these are;
- Maintaining a six feet distance from suspect patients
- Regularly ingesting probiotics
- Using PPEs
- Sanitizing and washing hands regularly
- Doing the above after every 30 minutes or so
Stress and Burnout
Little to no rest between shifts and long working hours can impact any person’s mind and body, let alone a nursing professional who already has to put in tons of overtime. So, it is understandable that these healthcare professionals fall victim to stress and burnout. Moreover, It makes them incompetent at work, and they end up making terrible healthcare decisions, which can prove highly problematic to their employers, and most importantly, their patients.
After all, such misjudgments and lousy patient care decisions can put patients into life and death situations.
To overcome these issues, nurses should;
- Ensure they take regular breaks to refuel themselves
- Focus more on self-care
- Get at least six to eight hours of sleep
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise to avoid unnecessary burnout-related injuries such as cramps and pulled muscles
Long work hours
Nursing professionals often have to work long hours and shifts(including the night shift), which is due to two reasons; cost-cutting and short staffing. But, no matter the reason, working more than your physical limit will lead to severe health issues.
Furthermore, it will also degrade the quality of care you provide to your patients. Moreover, when these healthcare professionals work long hours, they don’t receive ample rest, meaning their bodies don’t refuel.
For example, nursing professionals who work long hours suffer from chronic neck, back, leg, and shoulder pain, while some suffer from more severe health issues like diabetes or arthritis. Plus, they succumb to such problems as fatigue, impaired mental function, or daytime sleepiness.
To overcome these issues, utilize your break the best way you can. For example, go to the breakroom and take a short nap instead of going out with your co-workers. So, when you get ample rest, your body will be ready to go, and you’ll work like this is no tomorrow.
Staffing issues have always been the norm in the nursing profession since the nursing field’s inception. Plus, the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t making matters any better. Moreover, staffing shortages can result in overworked employees, medical errors, and degraded care quality. That said, what is the reason behind the staffing shortage?
To answer this question, take the example of a study conducted by Science Daily. It states that there are more fifty-year-old nurses than thirty-year-old ones, which means that people are shying away from taking the nursing profession as their career path.
Furthermore, more fifty-year-old nurses mean that senior nurses are at the end of their career and will require soon and leave a void that somebody has to fill. Therefore, healthcare leaders should encourage aspiring healthcare candidates to consider nursing their career choice to solve these issues.
In addition, they should focus on showing the positives the nursing field brings, for example, good stable income, opportunity to work with diverse populations, etc.
The uphill battles nursing professionals face on a day-to-day basis usually leave them alone and disheartened. However, if you are a nurse yourself, you should remember that you aren’t alone.
Think about the reasons you took up nursing. And keep reminding yourself that you’re doing it for the betterment of humankind. Only then will you be able to find peace and enjoy your work!