Are you from the nursing profession? Do you have concerns about the issues facing the profession? If so, then read on to learn about issues and challenges that are facing the profession today.
I found in a survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing that nursing is amongst the biggest healthcare professions around the world with over 3 million nurses and 2.5 million licensed registered nurses working in the field. Nonetheless, the industry has to encounter several ethical, legal and moral issues in the sphere of healthcare. The issues not only affect the nurse managers of today but also the nurse leaders of tomorrow. It thus becomes important for nursing students and aspirants to possess a comprehensive knowledge regarding the problems in order for them to deal with these effectively while they enter professional life. One of the major contemporary issues facing the nurses today is the complicated healthcare problems related to the rapidly transforming global economy. In such a state, it has become difficult for the nursing industry to implement changes effectively. Apart from that, it has been found that the nurses working in the industry have to confront several critical issues that cause harm to not only their professional life but also their personal life.
It is true that the profession of nursing is both rewarding and challenging. The nurses make up the majority of the workforce in the healthcare industry and thus, they are often targeted whenever hospitals are required to lay off their staff for the cost-cutting purpose. In addition to economizing, nurses face several other issues and the majority of those are becoming worse with each passing day. In order to specifically point out the problems or challenges that contemporary nursing faces, it is important to break them systematically. This would help you to understand the problems in a clearer way.
The first major challenge facing the nurses is the awkward shift timing with long hours of working. I have found that the nurses in various hospitals have to work for longer hours than many of their counterparts working in another profession. The schedules of work fixed for the nurses require them to work in back to back shifts thus taking a toll on their health. Now if you are aspiring to become a nurse in the future, you must prepare yourself to work for long hours. Contemporary nursing involves a tight and hectic working schedule. In such scenarios, it becomes difficult for the nurses to categorize their priorities and therefore, they fail to manage their work efficiently. You must remember that as nurses, you will have to strike a balance between personal and professional life. Nurses often go through what is known as burnout. Burnout is the result of long working hours coupled with the lethargy, depression, and cynicism associated with the profession. To be effective, you must have a sense of purpose if largely important.
The long hours of work results from the second challenging facing contemporary nursing, which is, staff crisis in the hospitals. Staff crisis affects healthcare badly. The problem has become aggravating largely due to the fact that hospitals are looking to advance their facilities by including new medical equipment but ignoring the maintenance of staff adequately. Owing to this, care and safety of the patients are being put at stake as the number of patients exceeds the number of nurses the hospital has. With such a shortage, it is found that one nurse is given the responsibility to look after hundreds of patients and thus have to work for long hours resulting in burnouts in both physical and emotional terms. Staff crisis is also a result of the cost-cutting strategy of the hospitals. Owing to such strategies, the retention of nurses also has become a problem because most nurses leave their jobs owing to the immense workload they are subjected to. Being a nursing student or an aspirant, you must develop enough capability to endure long working hours and prove your capability to save yourself from the cost-cutting strategy, which would be very difficult.
Fulfilling the expectations of the patient is another challenge that nurses face in the contemporary era. It is the top priority of every nurse and every hospital to fulfill the patient’s expectations in every way possible. In order to do this, hospitals depend solely on nurses. The nurses are expected to stretch beyond their usual responsibilities and duties to fulfill the patient’s needs. Here also, the first two challenges are related. Due to shortage of staff, one nurse is given the responsibility of several patients leading to the deteriorating health of the nurse. This then leads to poor quality of service given to the patients. With the nurses totally burned out, they fail to concentrate on their patients or on their work thus leading to patient’s expectations not being fulfilled. When the nurses are unable to fulfill the expectations of the patients, the hospitals make the nurses accountable for it and waste no time in terminating or penalizing them. If you are planning to become a nurse in the future, you must make sure that you are able to deal with multiple patients at a time that could be very challenging.
The fourth challenge that the nurses face in the contemporary era is the increasing incidences of violence at the workplace. What do you think; it is easy to handle patients? Well, it is the most difficult part of the nursing profession. Nurses have to deal with various types of patients having a different mentality and attitude. While some patients behave extremely rudely, some even indulge in violent activities without any cause. In such incidences, it becomes very difficult for the nurses to tackle the situation. What do you think the nurses do? Do they run away or avoid the situation? No. they calmly handle the situation making the patients understand and calming them down. However, it is not the only kind of violence the nurses have to face at the workplace. They also face violence or abuse from their fellow colleagues. In such cases, the nurses take help of the higher regulatory bodies of nursing. As you can clearly see, violence is a common factor in the nursing industry and each nurse comes across such situations at least once in her or his lifetime.
The fifth and last major challenge facing contemporary nursing is the less compensation given to the nurses. Amongst the duties of the nurse include, treating and assessing the patients regularly, doing the paperwork, administering medications and managing other works as well in the hospital. In simple terms, you could state that the nurse is the one who looks after more responsibilities and works than the physicians and the doctors. The doctors and physicians only check the patients and prescribe treatment or medicine to them. It is but the nurses who carry out the maximum work and yet, they are the ones least compensated. In spite of dedicating longer hours of work, the nurses are not given a good amount of compensation. Did you know this? I did not. I researched about the compensation given to nurses in the various healthcare setting and found that although on paper, nurses earn a handsome amount, in reality; they are not even paid half of what they deserve. In my research, I found that the compensation for nurses remained flat across the majority of healthcare settings. On average, the compensation for nurses increased by just 1000 bucks a year, reaching a mere amount of 81,000 US dollars.
The above-mentioned challenges are the ones that are the major challenges that contemporary nursing faces. You might be wondering whether you should enter this profession in the first place. Let me tell you that these are the challenges facing the nursing industry today but it does not mean that there is no scope for thriving in this industry. To make your choice easier, I must tell you that nurses are amongst the highest paid professionals in the industry. Apart from the financial benefit, you also have the opportunity to meet people every day and learn about their culture and background. You also have the opportunity to make people smile and happy and establish a bond that might stay with you for a lifetime. Challenges are problems are there in every industry and it is your job to prepare yourself in such a way that you do not have to worry about these. The challenges could be resolved if the government and the medical sector work collaboratively and offer necessary considerations towards the aforementioned sensitive issues. The government must implement plans that include needful incentives and attractive bonuses for contemporary nurses. The hospitals, especially the private ones must focus on the need of the nurses rather than just looking for advancement in hospital facilities. They must remember that nurses are the main resources that need to be looked after for the hospital to run smoothly and effectively.
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