Nursing is one of the hottest professions around the world. Registered nurses take on several different roles in hospitals, clinics, family practices and specialized health organizations to ensure the overall health of patients while assisting doctors by completing various medical and administrative tasks. While there are more people entering the nursing field, nurses are facing more problems in the hospital. Knowing these issues will allow you to take the necessary steps to prepare and reduce the impact these issues have in your workplace.
Workplace dangers create a detrimental environment for both nurses and patients. Nurses may experience work-related hazards such as bloodborne pathogens, back injuries when lifting patients, or illnesses. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there were 58,860 work-related illnesses and injuries to hospital workers during 2011.
You can reduce your chances of becoming injured or sick through continued education about safe workplace procedures. Learn how to safely handle patients when moving them to prevent back, hand and leg injuries. You can also increase your knowledge about how to use assistive devices and healthcare equipment to reduce the spread of communicable diseases.
Violent behaviors caused by coworkers, patients, or visitors can create a hostile environment and lead to nurses experiencing injuries and emotional trauma. From 2012 to 2014, workplace violence impacted 112 health facilities in 19 states in data gathered by OSHA as there were 2,034 reported injuries, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Recognizing and preventing such violent behaviors must become paramount for nurses, health organizations and state legislators.
Nurses can take steps to reduce violent behaviors by speaking with employers and helping them develop policies and procedures for reporting cases of violent behavior that require immediate action and remediation. Speak with your employer about the current plans they have in place and encourage them to implement more training and education about acceptable workplace behavior for all professionals in the healthcare organization.
Short Staffing Levels
As more nurses are seeking BSN or MSN degrees, there is still a significant staffing shortage across the United States. There are more open job positions than there are nurses who can fill them as short staffing levels create a domino effect of problems in hospitals and clinics. When there are not enough nurses on hand, patient care is reduced as nurses spend less time addressing patient needs and place more time in hurrying to complete their overburdened workloads. According to the American Nurses Association, nurses also must contend with mandatory overtime, burnout and fatigue, which increase the likelihood of injuries, illnesses or medical errors occurring,
With nurses taking on more leadership roles in medical facilities, you are in a unique position to address short staffing issues with employers. Bring up how this problem is impacting care and come up with the right solutions that can help nurses at all skill levels and in all departments. You can also bring up such issues during contract negotiations so staffing levels are addressed by upper management and nurses are fairly compensated for their work.
The nursing profession can see large wage gaps based on location and gender. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, nurses working in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States can make $14,800 more than the national average salary earned by staff nurses while healthcare professionals in the Pacific region can make $4,300 less than the average earned salary. It has also been reported that male nurses will make more than female nurses by up to $5,000. In addition, the pay gap may be based on different nurse specialties such as chronic care and cardiology.
The level of education you have can have a significant impact on getting the wage compensation you desire. Pursuing a higher professional degree, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), can help you get a better job position with higher pay. You can also use your specialized degree to negotiate for higher pay that better reflects the job tasks you will perform.
A Great Career Path with Ongoing Possibilities
While there are many issues that nurses face today there are great advantages in the nursing profession and earning a BSN or MSN. Pursue this rewarding career as you can help patients with their medical needs and provide needed support for doctors and other medical professionals. With the different nursing specialties available, you have the ability to select the one that truly calls to you, provides the right salary that fits into your desired lifestyle, and allows you to work in the hospital, clinic or family practice in locations across the country.
Learn more about BSN vs. MSN degrees in these blog posts: “Why You Should Get a BSN” and “Why should I earn my RN – MSN / MBA rather than a BSN?”