Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

Future Of Nursing

The nursing profession is probably in the most precarious position that it ever has been.  Nurses are leaving in droves due to mandates forcing them to take “the shot.”  Some are leaving because of the incredibly increased workload thrust upon them to make up for the nursing staff shortage.  That shortage is forcing hospitals to offer huge sign-on bonuses to lure nurses to their facilities, thus depriving other healthcare facilities of their former valued nursing employees.  And, of course, there are nurses leaving simply because the stress and burnout has made the job unbearable.

This cascading effect comes to a bottom line of overall healthcare system in peril.

The American Nurses Association interviewed a number of nursing leaders to see what they think about the future of nursing.  Feel free to read the entire article.

Everyone has their paradigm or way of looking at things.  If you are a director of nursing or a chief nursing officer, your paradigm is going to be regarding your organization and retaining nurses.

If you are an educator, your paradigm will be with regard to nursing education.

While many nursing leaders have espoused what they believe is the future of nursing, here is what I believe.

Much of what is happening in nursing is not necessarily a result of the pandemic.  This wave has been coming for a while.

Nurses are not appreciated, being tossed away easily, and being replaced like factory workers.  One healthcare institution had the “three strikes you’re out” rule.  If you were sick on 3 different times within a year, you lost your job.  Fortunately, that policy has changed.

Given that nurses are exposed to all kinds of pathogens, this only prompted nurses to come to work despite when they were not feeling well.  Now it is even MORE dangerous for nurses to show up at work when they are ailing.

I believe that giving nurses huge sign-on bonuses is a mistake and an insult to those who have been loyal to the institution.  Seeing a large financial incentive being offered to new incoming employees, those who have been loyal workers for months and years could be nudged to leave their current jobs in search of a new healthcare provider offering lucrative sign on bonuses.

Very little is being done to help nurses to deal with stress, burnout and depression.  In fact, suicide rates for nurses are higher than that of the general population.  Additionally, the peer assistance programs deal only with alcohol and substance abuse rather than with mental health issues.

In Indiana at least, the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, known as JLAP, assists attorneys with both substance abuse and mental health issues.

As nursing professionals, we are very giving and give to everybody else but ourselves.  This mentality needs to change!  The value of nurses to drive in the point that taking care of yourself first allows you to give more to others.

By forcing nurses to work mandatory overtime, this does not honor nurses and help their mental health.  I would like to see a huge overhaul in our healthcare system, which is actually a “sickcare” system, and turn it into one of actual health and wellness care.  So many things can be done to help our community citizens with a healthier more fulfilling life is not just education because if education did work, everyone would be in perfect health and wellness.

It is likely that we will see more home care because coordination of care by registered nurses will help people stay at home longer.

I agree that our care models need to change.  As much as I loved practicing primary care as a nurse and doing everything for the patient, I think many of the tasks that nursing performs with the primary care model are things that can be taken care of by people who don’t have nursing training.  There are others who can handle blood draws, respiratory therapy, etc.

It will be interesting to see how nursing chooses to reinvent itself after the pandemic.  And, what I know for sure is that nurses need to stand together in their power to make the changes necessary to improve patient care in our profession.

Creating a divide by those who are vaccinated and those who are not, those who have a diploma degree and those that have a bachelors and all the other things that divide nurses, we will not be able to make the changes that we would like to see in our profession.

1 Comment

  1. Anne LLewellyn

    Totally agree with you Lori….we are strong in numbers but not in unity. ANA has not advocated for nurses and there is fragmentation within the ranks. Thanks for saying what we all know is happening…know we need to come together and come up with solutions.

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