When a medical facility maintains a healthy working environment for nurses, they can expect to see improved job performance, higher levels of patient care, and an overall increase in employee morale. However, one of the most debated topics in healthcare news today is that working conditions in some hospitals in the US have fallen to unsustainable working conditions. Moreover, these unfavorable working conditions have only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Subsequently, the pandemic has ignited a stir of nursing strikes. Search any relevant health care news today, and various reports will pop up of nurses who are still demanding that hospitals provide better working conditions, such as staying adequately staffed to prevent nurse burnout.
On the flip side, many medical facilities have used the staffing collapse brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic as a great learning experience. These hospitals are now turning to technology as a critical component in improving efficiency and communication among nurses, as well as increasing the quality of care for patients.
Aside from healthcare staffing challenges, other fundamental issues should be addressed in medicine across the country. Below are a few ongoing healthcare challenges in the industry today, and what hospitals are doing to stay ahead of staffing burnout.
Are Nurses Still on Strike?
The Covid-19 pandemic sparked a fire of nursing strikes around the country. Just this year in January 2022, National Nurses United, a labor union with over 175,000 members nationwide organized a slew of strikes across the US, demanding that hospitals seek better working conditions. According to the article posted by Spectrum News, NY1:
“Nurses in the city and across the country stood united Thursday, speaking out to make sure that their demands and concerns for a safe workplace are heard.”
The requests included that hospitals recognize that understaffed hospitals cause a great threat to nurse burnout and lead to poor nurse-to patient-ratio. Other demands included asking the Center for Disease Control to reinforce its pandemic isolation requirements, as some nurses say they are being required to return to work while COVID-19 positive. And while some hospitals have made strides to acknowledge nurse demands, many nurses around the country are still pleading that hospitals begin to prioritize the health and safety of nurses over profits.
The Impact of Healthcare Technology on Medical Professionals and Patient Welfare
One of the biggest healthcare challenges in the healthcare industry is staffing issues. These include nurse-to-patient ratios. So what are considered safe patient ratios? Safe staffing can save lives. According to research, a 1:4 RN to patient ratio can significantly reduce mortality rates among patients. Saying that RN-to-patient ratios should be adjusted according to patient acuity. In other words, a patient in the ER will require a higher nurse-to-patient ratio than a patient in post-op recovering without complications. And yet, shortages are still present within many hospitals, contributing to a historic deficit of available nurses to meet safe patient ratios.
In a proactive response to the COVID-19 nursing strikes, some hospitals are stepping up to the plate and making necessary changes. This includes using healthcare technology and apps as a solution to improve working conditions for nurses as well as be more patient-care oriented. This type of digital advancement can include anything from an app that can assess a woman's risk for cancer to a platform that creates user-friendly X-rays, like this one developed by Ambra. And that’s not all, according to a report by U.S. News & World Report, hospitals like Sibley Memorial Hospital in the District of Columbia are harnessing technology to its fullest by investing in a tranquility room. The room comes with soothing music and aromatherapy and allows nurses to relax in between shifts. The healthcare news report also includes highlights on how stroke specialists from Massachusetts General Hospital are taking advantage of a technology called Telestroke, a type of telemedicine that allows physicians to review their patient's brains from afar. These types of technology can provide life-saving information when used consistently. Additionally, healthcare technology can streamline the workload of clinicians and nurses, leading to a more pleasant work environment for everyone involved.
Technology Will Positively Change The Future of Healthcare
Nursing staffing shortages may likely be an ongoing obstacle for hospitals and medical facilities to face for years. However, the onset of advanced healthcare technology, and its ability to foster more favorable working environments for nurses, as well as beef up the quality of care for patients, is catching on. Moreover, is that on-demand nursing staff apps like Nursa ™ help healthcare facilities fill short-term staffing shifts with clinicians looking for flexibility. As a result, the Nursa™ app can quickly help fill nursing shifts all in real-time, and help medical facilities get the staffing they need.
Technology is changing the landscape of the healthcare industry for the better. If more hospitals and facilities can use technology to their advantage, they will likely witness higher nurse retention rates, better work efficiency, and significantly improved patient care. A goal that any medical facility should see as worth fighting for.