Great Questions! I will answer under each question with short answers.
Hello Nursing Faculty!
I'm a pre-nursing student. Right now I'm working on a research paper about the current nursing shortage for my ENG 102 class. I would really like to add some information from a nurse and/or nurse faculty member about their thoughts on the nursing shortage. If you would like to answer these questions that would be a big help, the sooner the better. I would need some basic information about you to cite in my paper. If you are interested let me know and I will give you my email address to send your answers too. Thank you! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.... To give you an idea of the questions:
1) How has the current nursing shortage effecting you or your job? The current nursing shortage has effected my job as a Clinical Nursing Instructor because the number of clinical sites are ran according to the number of students that register or pass the pre-req courses for the following class. My job is effected by nursing students and if students are not interested in the nursing field it has an effect on my job as a Nursing Instructor. You have to have a certain number of nursing students, in order to run the class.
I also work a Cosmetic Surgery Center, where I am the DON (Director of Nursing) of Sergical Services and an Operating Room Nurse. Our staff is small, but very excellent in what we do. We are fortunate that the Nursing Shortage has not affected us there. Although, we see many applications for nurses looking for a job. But our team has been togather for over ten years and I believe we are going to continue to be a TIGHT team.
2) What do you think can be done to resolve the nursing shortage? Advocate for Nursing Students, Advertise for Nursing: starting in Elementary School and continue on through Middle and High Schools. Have a Nursing Day Event Day for the community and for health care providers to show the True Life of a Nurse and what we do as a Nurse Make those aware of the many different jobs that Nurses can go into and that their is show much potential for growth in the field of Nursing: It never gets boring and that it is not all bedside. Even those that love computers can go into: Nursing Informatics. Those that are interested in Anesthesia, there is Nurse Anesthetist, education: Nurisng Instructors/Nursing Education at Hospitals, so many avenues.
3) What aspects do you think are the major cause of the nursing shortage? Burnout, Over worked, Under paid, not fully appreciated.
4) Do you think that changing the conditions of the workplace would help the nursing shortage? Yes. Have well thought out Nursing Orientation for New Grads and ALL NURSES who want to delve into a different nursing path. Have mentors that one can go to in the time of need: Mentor 24-7 or on call. More teamwork involved people to work with, helpful and clean environment. Have units well stocked so nurses can do their jobs without becoming overwhelmed and overly stressed because the units don't have what the doctor ordered because they could not afford to have the units well stocked due to BUDGET. We always hear about the BUDGET. Have 4 hour, 8 hour, and 12 hour shifts: and hire according to how the nurse wants to work. Some people have a hard time functioning working 12 hours shifts, especially when it is the third day. Computer documentation/paper documentation, which ever it is (I prefer computers) make sure they are consistant. Less patient loads.
5) How do you think the nursing shortage effects patient care? It drastically effects our patients. Patient Safety is our # 1 priority, right? Then we should be staffed appropriately to be able to provide care for our patients. In ICU, to provide SAFE care it is (nurse to patient ratio) 1:1 or 1:2 (yet if we are under staffed they try to assign more patients 1:5). This is not safe. We have multiple drips titrating accordingly and it must be monitored closely. Sometimes blood sugars q1h. Could you imagine having all patients on BSq1h, it's impossible to do it exaclty q1h, what if a patient crashes, BS drops and their symptomatic or goes in the opposite direction, SCARY, then you have a patient bucking the vent: NIGHTMARE. You get my drift.
Nursing homes are scare me because of the BUDGET and Nursing Shortage in that area. They are under paid, over worked and short staffed. One nurse is expected to care for 28 patients (the unit where I use manage), suppose to be two, but half the time you have call outs. 2 Nurses, let alone, 1 Nurse still cannot provide the best of care for that many patients. Yes they do the BEST THEY CAN, but it is hard (I had to get out of Managing a Nursing Home because they were more focused on Budget, than providing the appropriate amount of nurses to work the Skilled Unit). It was sad and it broke my heart. They entire team worked togather, but those nurses deserve so much more pay and gratitude for all the hard work they provide. WE need more Nurses to provide safe care. We have to show the positive side of nurses to get people to want to become a NURSE. When I ask someone that has no idea about the Nursing Field, Do you know what a Nurse does? This is the # 1 answer I get: Change diapers and put patients on bedpans. This is outrageous! That's only a very tiny part of what we do. We do so much more than that. I go on to explain (not lecture) to them what it is that WE NURSES DO! Education is the key! Awareness is the KEY and we need to show NURSING IN A POSITIVE LIGHT!!!!
I hope you enjoyed these answers as I have enjoyed answering your questions.