Nursing is a gratifying profession, but at the same time it can be very challenging. Nurses have an important role to play in the healthcare industry since they makeup the majority of the medical workforce.
However, problems in nursing profession can directly impact patient satisfaction which is the core responsibility of medical institution. Problems associated with nursing can be divided in to problems in nursing profession which deals with the broader nursing issues, while the other phase of the article deals with the internal problems of nurses.
Problems in Nursing Profession
Due to the advancement of medical technologies, the top management of hospitals have been investing on these technologies despite addressing hospital staffing crisis. Hospitals are failing to pay attention on the adequate staff level because their focus have shifted towards corporate greed than providing a safe patient care. Hospitals perceive decreasing the number of nursing staff as a way to decrease healthcare cost. According to a research performed by Cardiological Society of India, the world would see a staggering 20% shortage of nursing professionals ny the year 2020. This staffing strategy not only causes problems in nursing, but also causes stress for nurses.
Decreased Patient Satisfaction
As nurses are accommodated to other nursing issues such as the above discussed problem, patients often complain about the availability of nurses or their not-so-quick responses to a request. A study in the American Journal of Medicine revealed that there has been a significant decrease in patient satisfaction while 6% increase in patient complaints for the year 2016. Meeting the needs and expectations of patients have become difficult as nurses are divulged in to various other tasks due to shortage of nurses in the hospital.
Lack of Respect
Although nursing is considered as a highly respected profession since their work involves caring for the patient. However, in most occasion nurses continue to experience lack of respect. This usually is experienced from patients, management, doctors, and other fellow nurses. Nursing is a rewarding profession but it also requires teamwork. Lack of respect can develop further nursing issues which may prevent a nurse to provide a good care of their patients.
Workplace hazards in hospitals are numerous as nurses can encounter particular nursing problem through handling of patients, bloodborne pathogens, handling of the needles and carrying out other similar procedures. Majority of the occupational injury is caused through lack of education regarding safe workplace procedures, while majority of injuries occur due to handling of patients. Occupational injury may result in back, hand, and leg injury. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data reveals 48% of occupational injuries and illness are caused due to overexertion and bodily reaction, 13% are caused through contact with objects.
Cost of living in different regions play an important role when it comes to compensation of nurses. Some nurses can earn more in certain parst of the US than other nurses living in different regions, while same goes for developed and developing nations. The demand for nursing profession is decreasing due to low financial compensation as this has raised issues in nursing profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Registered Nurses (RN) on average can earn about $32 per hour in the US. However, the lowest paying states can pay up to $25.04 per hour, while the highest paying states can pay up to $46.38 per hour. Nurses work much harder than both doctors and physicians, but they are not compensated as they would like.
Nursing not alone in low starting salary bt unlike others their salaries stay low - currently 1% pay rise cap for NHS nurses #NHSbursary— Nicola Merrifield (@nic_merrifield) January 6, 2016
Violence in the Workplace
Another problem in nursing profession is patients’ violent behavior. The results indicated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revealed that 80% of the occupational injuries and incidents in healthcare industry were caused by interacting with patients. Sometimes it becomes harder for nurses to handle patients because they are highly demanding. It may lead to emotional trauma for nurses and decrease their confidence. New nurses may tend to feel that they should not have pursued a nursing career. Failing to provide a good patient care may further lead to outburst from the management and co-workers.
As a result of inadequate staffing, nurses are required to work long-working hours. However, in many occasions, nurses have to work extended shifts. This practice is resulting in a negative impact on patient care that fosters medical errors due to fatigue caused in nurses. The industrial research indicates that the productivity of medical staff significantly decreases after 10-12 hours of work. It accounts for the problem in nursing profession as nurses gain too much responsibility with such a little time to spare.
Developing a Professional Relationship
The nursing profession does not allow nurses to develop a close relationship with patients. When patients struggles with their life or even dies, it is the pain which is felt by the nurses as they feel the loss. Maintaining a healthy and professional relationship is required by nurses, and therefore maintaining a close relationship is avoided.
#WeNurses student nursing is much about your relationship with your mentors and tutors as much as it is with your patients.— #hellomynameis Abi (@abigailstdnurse) March 2, 2016
Advancement in medical technology also arouses the need for the nursing staff to get equipped with the particular technology. Failure to adjust with the new technology may result in the job loss. The current medical technology is worth $337.3 billion while an advancement in the medical imaging technology has tripled in the last 10 years from 5% to 17%. Therefore, nurses are always required to get used with the latest technology despite of their resistance to change.
Nurses may encounter physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion which may undermine their motivation and leaves them towards a sphere of hopelessness. Stress may occur due to over-engagement with work, but burnout may result due to disengagement with work. A study conducted by Mayo Clinic in 2015 suggested that burnout ranges from 10%-70% among nurses which remains to be greater than physicians. When nurses experience burnout, they perceive every day is a bad day. The particular nurse problem can lead to lower patient satisfaction.
Problems with Nurses
The emotional endurance faced by nurses is different from people who are related to different profession. Nurses are exposed with weird family dynamics, the circle of life and death regarding patients, and grievances that occurs with the patient. Individuals who may belong to another field than nursing may claim that they have stressful week, but they would never understand the emotional ups and downs of nurses.
New Challenge Everyday
A nurse would never know what they will come across the next morning. A patient who may seem healthier one morning can unexpectedly fall ill the next. There is a saying of older nurses, ‘The minute when one seems confident, something bad will happen the next’. This holds true in most cases which is also the reason why the license of nurses is always on the line. If something goes wrong, the nurses would be the one administering it.
I really like working with Nurses and Doctors. Everyday is a new challenge. *wink*wink— Brandi Serious (@BrandiRachele) November 16, 2013
It is not always easier for nurses to to hang out with their non-nurse friends to take a time-out from the nursing profession. When a nurse receives a night off, the least thing they would want to do is to talk with friends. Nurses like to go home, sit in a corner, and absorb the stuff that happened at work.
Nurse bullying is a frequently occurring problem in nursing and mostly under reported. It is the management which may highly involve in nurse bullying as they would interfere in their work practices, make continuous criticism that may destroy their confidence, undermining of their work, claiming false accusations and many others. According to the BLS, 48% new graduate nurses are afraid of workplace bullying and becoming its target.
Being Patient’s Advocate
A nurse always have to remain on top of things when it comes to being patient’s advocate. A patient may need help with their medication, or similar other help which may require nurses’ assistance. Nurses also prompt specialists who had not visited the patient more than once because nurses realize the severity of the patient’s condition. This nursing problem makes a nurse responsible for advocating patient and take care of their needs.