Newsflash: our country is in a nursing shortage crisis and it has been for a while now. In fact, the US has witnessed episodic nursing shortages since the 1900s; moreover, current research and the latest nursing news, show that these shortages will continue through 2030. So what’s behind critical nursing shortages? To start, understaffed medical facilities, low pay, and failure to address safety concerns are all factors that contribute to a dire nursing shortage. Add on the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic and we are beginning to witness nurse burnout like never before. Furthermore, nursing strikes and demands for fair contracts are rising throughout the country. As a result, some professional nursing unions such as the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are advocating for medical teams to put nurses at the front line of primary care.
That being said, primary care transformation is just one example of how to better address issues such as nurse burnout and medical staffing shortages. While it may take some time, below are a few more ideas of how the healthcare sector could create a safe and healthy work environment for their nursing staff.
Primary Care Model: What is Primary Care Transformation?
In short, primary care is patient-centered care that empowers a nurse to be accountable and responsible for any decisions made for their patient. The primary care model in nursing is when a delegated nurse is responsible for nearly all communication and treatment for a patient. This means that the nurse must have the authority and confidence to implement, and follow through on any medical treatment prescribed for their patient.
Essentially, the primary care model helps foster a more holistic and authentic relationship between a primary nurse and their patient. In theory, primary nursing may also lead to accelerated healing of a patient. And while nursing shortages may make it challenging to implement this type of nursing care model, the latest nursing news shows that primary care does in fact lead to better patient safety and overall efficiency.
Training More Nurses For The Future of Healthcare
Giving nurses more autonomy in decision-making when it comes to patient care can address issues relating to patient safety and job satisfaction; however, finding a solution to ease nursing shortages may be the bigger issue. Subsequently, some experts believe that higher education could train and secure enough graduate nurses to meet the demands of healthcare facilities in the US. As a matter of fact, The Center for American Progress (CAP) suggests that “the nursing shortage cannot be solved unless higher education institutions train more nurses”. Additionally, more nurse educators with diverse ethnic backgrounds need to be present in higher education institutions to assimilate with diverse student populations. Evidently, this may also lead to better graduation rates among ethnicities looking to pursue a nursing career.
Ultimately, a balance of a diverse pool of nurse educators, stronger recruitment and nursing school enrollment, as well as adequate equipment to facilitate medical training, may offer some hope to gradually close the nursing gap.
What’s Being Done to Improve Nurse Safety?
Nurse salaries and safety are present issues that exist in US healthcare facilities. Additionally, issues such as nursing shortages can greatly affect nurse-to-patient ratios and jeopardize both the safety of the nurse and the patient. Moreover, poor job satisfaction, low pay, and subsequently, nursing strikes, all perpetuate an already critical nursing shortage.
So, how much are nurses paid? Nurse salaries depend greatly on location, individual certifications, and the level of care required. In general, however, the national average earnings for a registered nurse (RN) according to the BLS has a mean annual wage of $82,750 a year. And while nurse salaries may seem competitive for an outsider looking in, some nurses feel that the compensation is not enough when compared to the job’s demands. That being said, understaffed facilities and budget cuts have left many nurses feeling overworked and underpaid. Therefore, as a way to improve nurse and patient safety, nurses are taking a stand with nursing strikes; demanding renegotiation of their contracts and higher nurse-to-patient ratios. By taking a stand, nurses hope to address what can be done about the current nursing labor crisis.
Closing the Nursing Shortage Gap
The nursing shortage will continue unless immediate issues are tackled such as understaffed hospitals and unsafe work environments. Until then, breaking nursing news will be headlined by nursing strikes and burned-out medical professionals feeling the stress of a broken healthcare system.
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