Working in the world of healthcare is a goal for many people, and with good reason. It is fulfilling, rewarding, and monetarily lucrative. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t without problems. Nurses face a lot of challenging issues in their profession, regardless of geographical location or paygrade, and they can be quite difficult to deal with at times. Here are the top eight most common problems in the nursing profession.
- Not Enough Nurses
The staffing issue is probably the most pressing issue at the moment for nurses. There are much fewer people entering nursing right now than at previous times. To compound the matter, healthcare costs are continuously on the rise and that means decreasing the number of staff to save money at the facility. This leads to a nursing staff that is overworked as they struggle to keep up with the demands at their workplace. While there is no cure-all for this problem, many states have actually enacted legislation to guarantee a decent nurse-to-patient ratio.
- Professional Relationships
One of the main goals of any profession is to have a good working relationship within the team and between other departments. However, nurses often get the brunt of it when inter-professional relationships aren’t going well. Because nurses are seen as less important (HA!) than physicians, we can suffer from negative assumptions that then lead to negative treatment. This conflict extends to the relationships between nurses and patients, their bosses, or even coworkers at the same level as themselves.
- Patient Satisfaction
Remember that nursing shortage we mentioned a minute ago? Well, that is directly linked to patient satisfaction, and the fewer nurses there are, the less happy patients will be. No one wants to be admitted to a hospital or clinic only to be waiting even longer just to see a nurse. By the time we reach the patient, they are grumpy and disappointed in the service they are receiving.
- Job Safety
We should probably say “lack of safety” here. This is a growing issue for nurses, especially those that are hit hardest by the staffing shortage. Primarily, though, working as a nurse even in the best of times is a bit dangerous. We are constantly dealing with sharps, wet floors, belligerent patients, and a lot of heavy lifting. And, of course, we are surrounded by people who are sick with any manner of disease or illness, so the chance of contracting a contagious illness is quite a bit higher for nurses than it is for the general public.
Nurses get paid fairly well, and that includes overtime. The problem, however, is with mandatory overtime. We are hardy ever given the choice of whether we want to come in on our day off or not. Instead, we can be called up at a moment’s notice or asked to stay late at the end of our shift. Getting paid for it is nice, but sometimes we’d rather be able to relax and spend time with our family or doing hobbies that we enjoy.
- Unpaid Work
This isn’t necessarily a part of our literal job since we do get paid for the work we do, but as nurses, we are constantly being approached to do a bit of work. As soon as someone finds out you’re a nurse, they’ll ask “Oh, can you have a look at this weird mole for me?” We’re happy to help out family members and close friends, but it would be nice if we weren’t the go-to for health information every time we get together with people. Especially strangers!
- Patient Relationships
One of the best parts of our job is getting to work with amazing patients. Some of them we see long-term and we can create a relationship with them. We get to know them, learn to love them. The problem comes in when we lose them, especially through death. It can be easy to get too close to patients and difficult to have to say goodbye. This is by far one of the hardest parts of the job.
Healthcare is directly linked to technology. As it advances, we are forced to keep up. We have to learn new strategies for documentation and keeping information. We have to learn about new programs and new software. We have to get used to using smartphones and apps. Technology can be exciting, but it’s also quite a challenge to integrate it into our daily work, especially since it changes so rapidly!