Wilson, Nicole Denise
The Nursing Workforce
The nursing profession is undoubtfully one of the most satisfying and fulfilling careers. As nurses, we derive joy from saving lives, assisting patients in their most vulnerable states, instilling hope in family members, and walking the grieving journey with the bereaved. These components are vital in enabling people to face disease states and accept the finality of death. Our practice is guided by several laws, which the nurses ought to have sound knowledge about. The healthcare system is ever-changing, with the workplace environments increasing in complexities and challenges.
Cherry and Jacob (2016) state that being acquainted with the knowledge of governing laws enables and enhances the nurses ability to deliver humane, effective, and safe care across all settings. However, nurses face several issues in their workplaces. These challenges affect the profession, patients, nurses, and the organization. Some of the issues that have persisted in todays workforce include nursing shortage, patient safety and advocacy, workplace rights and safety, and appropriate staffing (Mason et al., 2016). These derail professional growth, satisfaction, and outcomes.
Since World War II, there have been recorded histories about cyclic nursing shortages (Cherry & Jacob, 2016). Issues that increase the need for professional nursing include the population aging and a rise in the incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancers. These health needs are unmatched by the available nurses. The shortages in human resources increase burnout, physical problems, and psychological stress among the working nurses. The recommended nurse to patients ratio cannot be actualized. Another cause of the nursing shortage is an aging workforce. Additionally, salary issues contribute to shortages in the nursing workforce. Professional bodies ought to continue being attentive to the issues causing shortages to encourage young individuals to have an interest and a passion for the profession.
Safe or appropriate nursing implies having enough nurses with the right knowledge and skills at the right place and time. Cherry and Jacob (2016) observe that in hospitals where few nurses are available for patients, the latter receive inadequate nursing care, causing disease complications and high death rates. Consequently, the nurses experience great job dissatisfaction, emotional exhaustion, and physical burnout. Issues that contribute to nursing shortages also contribute to the deficits in safe nursing.
One of the cornerstones of the nursing profession is patient advocacy. Patients are dependent on the nurses in receiving the proper care. In todays clinical settings, intricate technological advancements and complex systems create environments full of adverse events and medical errors (Cherry & Jacob, 2016). These issues pose a challenge to nurses roles of vociferation against issues jeopardizing patient safety and care. Additionally, nurses work in fear of retaliation from organizations. This is so when nurses participate or take part in investigations against agencies or disclose information. Therefore, nurses may fear disclosing information unsafe, illegal, or unethical practices or situations provided to patients in hospitals.
Nurses strive to provide quality and safe care to patients while working in inherently dangerous environments. Nurses are exposed to bloodborne pathogens and diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. Cherry and Jacob (2016) assert the nursing profession ranks second as a profession with a high physical workload. Poor adoption of policies that prevent needlestick injuries increases nurses risks for nosocomial infections. Additionally, inadequate personal protective equipment (PPEs) complement this risk. Lastly, nurses face verbal and physical abuse. This is caused by a lack of laws protecting and compensating nurses against workplace abuses.
Cherry, B., & Jacob, S. R. (2016). Contemporary nursing: Issues, trends, & management. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Mason, D. J., Gardner, D. B., Freida Hopkins Outlaw, & Ogrady, E. T. (2016). Policy & politics in nursing and health care (7th ed.). Elsevier.
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