Here in the U.S. and the rest of the world, we face a complicated and unresolved issue with a shortage of nurses. This problem isn't new. The nursing shortage has been a concern since the mid-1930s. With an aging population, this significant increase in older adults has only intensified the problem. As if this wasn't bad enough, we were hit with an unexpected pandemic (COVID-19), which has turned a significant problem into a catastrophe. This has increased the work expectations in healthcare with a more substantial workload, hospital strain, and higher rates of nursing burnout, and it has negatively affected the quality of care.
Nurses are forced to pick up the slack with a more-than-ever shortage of healthcare workers along with the pandemic. Nurses perform jobs that are of significant importance; day in and day out, they perform duties that could determine if a person lives or dies. With extended hours and high expectations, their performance is monotonous. This extreme workload can be rigorous and affect the nurses' life outside work, such as their personal life. With the pandemic, there are new policies and regulations to be followed, only adding work expectations in healthcare and stress and fatigue to the job.
Here's a List Of Symptoms, A Burnout Nurse, Might Develop:
- Poor attitude toward work
- A sense of despair about going to work
- A loss of empathy with patients
- A withdrawal in personal along with professional relationships
- Lacking in work ethic
- Responding slowly to a work-related request
- Irritable around co-workers and patients
How To Improve Nurse Retention Rates:
When speaking of retention for nurses, it refers to employers being able to keep their nurses employed. Many hospitals are retiring and leaving their positions due to harsh work environments. The turnover rates for hospitals are very costly and add to the already existing problems in healthcare. Here are some resolutions that help keep employees content in their jobs.
- Address how heavy the workload for the nurse is - Many times, nurses are overwhelmed with extra tasks due to a lack of staff. Having adequate staff is key to running an efficient operation. One way employers can keep patient to nurse ratio at proper levels is by working with PRN nurses. These nurses work on call and are ready to work shifts whenever a facility is short-handed. There are healthcare apps. Such as nursa.com, which can keep hospitals with trained professionals on hand ready to fill shifts as needed.
- Have training and development- Many nurses want to advance their careers by stepping up into higher positions. Offering continued education and training as an incentive is a good way of keeping nurses encouraged in their current employment.
- Autonomy with staff- This allows nurses to use their decision-making through experience gained over their years of work and not supervise them as if you're breathing down their necks.
- Good compensation and benefits- Having competitive wages and benefits is a must. There are always other facilities in need, leaving the nurse with alternative job options. Having extra benefits such as paid vacations, paid sick days, insurance, and paid holidays, these incentives will help a nurse in feeling satisfied with their current employment.
- Promote mental health- Having free counseling with trained professionals, they can give training in relaxation techniques and meditation. Ensuring your nurses are taking care of their mental and emotional health directly affects how well they provide care to the patients.
- Staff recognition- Always compliment your staff on achievements. Congratulations and appreciation for your staff could affect nurse and healthcare worker satisfaction.
- Employee feedback- Listening to nurses' concerns and recommendations and understanding their wants and needs in their day-to-day work environment.
Hiring PRN Nurses:
In short, for a healthcare facility to run smoothly with adequate staffing, such as hiring PRN nurses capable of picking up the slack where needed. A PRN nurse typically has worked at many facilities, is familiar with different facility policies, and is experienced in what they must do. Using PRN nurses is being implemented around the country to relieve the burden for other staff members, such as reducing workloads and having to put in extra hours.
The expectations of a nurse in recent years have become grueling, as facilities cannot keep up with the demands of the public without having an over-pressured staff. The typical people who pursue nursing enjoy caring for others and wish to make a difference in people's lives. Even though conditions in the medical profession have become more complicated, these trained professionals are generally willing to work through them. Still, the needs and concerns of staff should be met. Facilities must keep the team they invested in and trained over the years. With this in mind, implementing policies and incentives that consider the worker is an excellent way to keep an experienced staff that facilities can not afford to lose.