Hi again, from Rita at Gold Medical Jobs. Becoming a RN in the late 1970’s was one of the best decisions I ever made. It was and in my opinion, remains, a noble profession. Nursing made demands of me mentally and to a degree physically (roller skates may have helped). Working in this caring and healing field has been emotionally rewarding, fiscally helpful, while additionally providing nourishment to my soul or I’ll venture to say, my life’s essence.
Yesterday’s, as well as today’s complex healthcare environment causes nurses to face an array of challenges, Short-staffing in hospitals being at the top of the list of concerns. With shortages, nurses are overly taxed. It means they don’t have the time to provide the care necessary for their patients and families. When nurses feel like they are not doing enough, over time, it causes dissatisfaction and burnout. Their moral distress is adding to the shortage and thus, in part, a vicious cycle has been created. It is often mentally and emotionally draining when a nurse repeatedly cannot provide the care which is necessary, I make this statement from both my personal experiences working in various hospitals and from years of providing clinical coaching, counseling, education, and support. Furthermore, the American Nurses Association as well as other healthcare biotechnical and informatics associations confirm the existence of a significant turnover in many healthcare organizations as being due to inadequate staffing resulting in nurses be dissatisfied in the workplace. Nursing school organizations, medical institutes, labor bureaus, and the media have all been recognizing the shortage. For more than a decade they have been shaping legislation, identifying strategies, and forming collaborations to address the shortage. While this is good it isn’t hugely helpful to the nurses, respiratory therapists, many technicians, physicians, and the patients whom are in need right now.
What can I do and what can you do? Me, I’m still in it. If a paycheck wasn’t a necessity, I believe I’d still work as an RN, sans the salary. However, at this writing, I do a paycheck and patient safety and personal sanity have pushed me to do a few things. On a right now, daily basis, my first move is to report to whomever is in charge, early in my shift, whenever critical treatments are behind schedule. So, for example, if I am unable to start a transfusion, administer meds, and/or treat a patient’s pain in a timely manner, that charge person hears about it. If a resource RN is not available, I’ll persist and ask the charge nurse to please treat the patient in pain and administer some of the meds, while I start an IV and begin the transfusion. Once caught up, I might seek out a CNA to assist with baths and turning patients. On the other hand, if and when I am having a manageable shift, gratitude is expressed, then, I ask if there is someone else in need of assistance. On a going forward basis I speak to and meet with as many leaders as possible about plans to resolve the shortage, in the next months and years. What is the strategy? Is there a plan to hire, precept, support education for advancement? Are there any ways the organization can work with local nursing schools to assist in forgiving loans, hiring grads, and increasing the RN population?
I am more than aware that it’s “a jungle out there” and nurses and other healthcare professionals are “in the trenches”. To my way of thinking, there is no backing out, just pushing through. Nurses and healthcare partners, Let’s go and go together. You are my people!