Nurses play one of the most fundamental roles in delivering medical care within the healthcare industry. In recent years, the nursing profession has turned into an extremely rewarding and lucrative career choice. Nurses are viewed as trusted members of society as they touch countless lives by investing their time and effort. They have to continuously face many hurdles and go through new changes in their job. Nurses often have to ignore their professional and personal needs due to the nature of their work. It is important to offer adequate support to nurses so they can continue their jobs. Preparing for challenges and learning how best to overcome them can help nurses manage their careers. The following are a few common challenges nurses face at work and solutions for overcoming them.
Once nurses graduate with a bachelor’s degree and begin working, they hardly have time on their hands. Continuing education and taking any training courses may seem impossible, as nurses devote their entire time to the patients and hospital. A bachelor’s degree in nursing would be insufficient, as one would require more qualifications to progress in the nursing field. Thus, you need to obtain a higher degree, but your job and duties won’t spare you the time to enroll in degree programs.
With present-day technology and advancements in the education sector, it has become easier for graduates to continue their education alongside having full-time jobs. Nurses can benefit from enrolling in an online RN to BSN Program, allowing them to move ahead in their career and achieve much more. With the help of such online degrees, nurses can find expert and innovative solutions to issues that arise in their careers. Nurses will gain the necessary skills to move into leadership roles and strengthen their understanding of patient care expertise.
- Busy Shifts
The role of a nurse is not a simple one. Nurses are often required to work around the clock, or 24/7, as they typically have busy schedules. They often have to work in 10 to 12-hour shifts with additional hours due to the frequent reasons of insufficient staffing or staff turnover. This mandatory overtime practice can leave nurses feeling worn out. Stress and exhaustion can take a toll on the physical and mental health of the nurses, thus compromising the quality of services that patients receive. After such tiresome schedules, it can get difficult to devote time to family or self-care.
As a nurse, one has to realize that you may not be able to get through on your own. If shifts get too arduous for you to handle, you should ask for support and help from your team. It is important to take a well-deserved break when you feel exhausted at work. Time management is key to being a successful nurse, to ensure that you utilize time in the best way possible. Nurses must get enough sleep before the start of the workweek to prevent burnout and maintain energy levels during shifts.
- Safety on the job
Another challenge of nursing is facing exposure to health hazards regularly. Because nurses tend to sick people, they experience exposure to bacteria and viruses than the average person. Such exposure can jeopardize their health since most of the medical conditions of patients can be contagious. In addition to health risks, nurses also have to come in contact with dangerous chemicals used for cleaning and sanitizing, which can lead to skin problems.
You cannot eliminate health hazards around you if you work in a health care setting. However, what nurses can do is, follow safety protocols while dealing with patients and dangerous chemicals. Wearing personal protective equipment (PPEs), regular handwashing and sanitizing, and keeping a safe distance from contagious people can help you stay healthy during your shifts. Nurses should also keep up to date on vaccines and prevent sharp needles and sticks exposure during disposals. Also, it is the responsibility of hospitals to have safety protocols in place to keep the patient caregivers safe from risks.
- Shortage of Nurses
Inadequate staffing levels continue to be one of the ongoing challenges in nursing. Nurses often have to face mandatory overtime due to this reason. When hospitals do not have enough patient caregivers for a shift, they may require nurses to work longer shifts. This can not only endanger patient care and safety but also impact the health and safety of the registered nurses (RNs) by increasing nurse exhaustion, injury rate, and the ability to provide safe care.
If hospitals are understaffed, nurses should negotiate with their supervisors to ensure their schedules do not negatively affect their ability to function efficiently. It would also be better to be proactive and explore other nursing options that offer more traditional hours, such as a private clinic or administrative roles. Employers should always be supporting their RNs by creating a positive work environment. They should reward you for the work you do.
- Technological changes
Advances in technology have shown considerable enhancement in the quality of healthcare and improvement in the standards of hospitals. Modern communication systems such as smartphones and apps have helped nurses stay in touch with their patients. Electronic records have reduced the need for nurses to maintain paperwork. Technological innovations in healthcare thus require nurses to be updated by learning new software and programs. However, with the added challenges of a heavy workload, learning new systems or equipment may seem overwhelming for some professionals who do not have an aptitude for new technology.
Nurses should remember that technology is here to stay and will only make their lives easier and better. The solution is to learn to be tech-savvy by requesting additional training to help become comfortable with new technology. Ask as many questions as you can until you can understand and use the software programs on your own. Mastering technology is the only way to improve your skills and knowledge that will benefit your career and your patients in the long run.
Nursing is a financially rewarding and morally gratifying career, but equally demanding. As a nurse, you will be dealing with different types of patients and challenges at hospitals every day. It is better to be prepared to handle these challenges as they come along the way. Nurses can cope with these challenges with good management and a healthy routine. Additionally, improving workplace conditions for nurses will also improve healthcare for everyone.