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Home > Article Categories > Nursing Jobs > In Joint Fight, Hospitals Must Play Critical Role to Combat Nursing Shortage

In Joint Fight, Hospitals Must Play Critical Role to Combat Nursing Shortage

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Nursing is a necessity to our country. The job is often unglamorous, but has the potential to be vastly rewarding in personal, financial, and intellectual ways, providing interesting challenges and opportunities for enthusiastic people. However, the U.S. is currently experiencing a nursing shortage that has now become a pressing issue, even attracting special attention from President Obama who can only afford to tackle serious and critical issues these days.
A key component in our current nursing shortage is the high amount of job burnout. The conundrum is that a major factor in nurse burnout is the shortage of staffing. Few qualified people are able to obtain a nursing degree, so far too few nurses are entering the workforce. Fighting over a depleted pool of resources, hospitals have had to keep their nurses working on the floor for longer periods of time than normal. They are also expected to treat larger numbers of patients than normal because there are fewer nurses to go around.
For many, this is an exhausting and stressful work environment. This frustration often creates such intense dissatisfaction with the job, that RNs quit. And if they don't choose to quit, harboring such negativity towards their job makes the workplace more stressful for fellow employees, and has been shown to affect patient care.
Especially stressful nursing positions tend to be in critical care facilities, which have the highest systemic nursing shortages and employee turnover rates. A major factor pushing these rates up is the sheer number of patients one is expected to care for, frequently noted in exit interviews as more patients than nurses feel safe caring for. Not only that, but nurses also commonly have to work 12 hour or longer shifts for as many as three consecutive days. It seems that some time of during the week does not negate the heavy toll taken on the psychological wellbeing of critical care nurses.
Eventually, many nurses working under such strenuous conditions feel out of control in both their personal and work lives and are forced to quit. One study found that one in three hospital nurses under the age of 30 plan to leave their current job within the year. Correcting the nursing shortage by hiring more nurses will have a positive impact on existing nurses' workplaces. This will help to eliminate or slow the rate of job burnout, and eventually ease the national shortage we are now facing.
As educational institutions work to expand facilities and student capacity, hospitals must also work to alleviate some of the strain on current nurses.

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