Changes in Healthcare and How it Affects Nurses

It is ironic that I wrote about my feelings concerning the changes in health care and the effect that it is having on nurses, and then logged in for my daily dose of Allnurses and there are two common threads echoing my sentiments. So to all my fellow nurses, this is for you! Nurses Announcements Archive Article

Changes in Healthcare and How it Affects Nurses

For two years, I have struggled with accepting the fact that health care is rapidly changing, and along with it, the way we perform nursing care. A common thread here on allnurses is the growing discontent in the nursing field.

Health care is changing.

While medical costs have skyrocketed, hospitals have downsized their staff. Patients are paying more for health care, but sometimes their needs are not being met in a timely manner because of short staffing.

As nurses, we pledged to do the best we could do, do not neglect or abuse patients in any way, and uphold high standards of care at all times. When I took that oath, I had every intention of upholding it. But sometimes, it is out of our hands.

Big corporations are taking over our hospitals. Their main goal is to decrease costs and to increase profits. They hire CEO's that will make this happen. Unfortunately, most of these CEO's have degrees in management, not nursing or medicine. They don't know how to take care of sick people or what it takes to do it.

People in middle management, such as DON's and nursing supervisors, have degrees in nursing, but they know that if they stand up to higher management and support their nursing staff, they will most likely lose their job. Everyone is replaceable. If you won't do what they want you to do, they will find someone who is willing to do it. It is not pretty, but it is the cold, hard truth.

So what is a nurse to do?

First of all, remember why you went into nursing. Are you still doing it for those reasons?

If not, try to get yourself back to that mindset. Nursing has changed. It will never be like the good old days. From here on out, we will be taking care of more patients who are chronically ill and our patient: nurse ratio will continue to rise.

By holding onto the negative aspects of the way that nursing has changed, you are doing yourself and your patients a disservice. If you are feeling burned out and stressed out beyond relief, maybe it is time to find a different type of nursing to do.

That is one of the wonderful things about nursing. There is nothing wrong with taking a break from what you are doing now and trying something else.

Sometimes you need to do this and reassess the way your career is headed. If you want to continue in your present job, then you must give yourself permission to be disappointed and sad, but then you need to make a conscious decision to be positive. Accept your assignment. Do the best you can do for the duration of your shift. Try to have a positive impact on your patients and co-workers. Force a smile if you have to. The shift will go by much quicker if you approach it in a positive manner. And the bonus? You will feel much better physically, mentally and emotionally.

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Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

Excellent advice, Bugaloo, and spot on!

Specializes in Mental and Behavioral Health.

And we're accepting these changes that are going to endanger our patients and our profession with a fatalistic attitude and a forced smile? No. I think we'd better unite and fight for what is right. It is all slipping away from us folks. It's now or never. If we do nothing, we will be alarmed at how bad things will be in a few years, but then, it will be too late.