Tackling Nursing Shortage: Strategies for Workforce Retention & Patient Care
Challenges, Rewards, and Shortages
Nursing is a profession that many aspire to pursue. Nurses are well-trained to take care of patients and offer advice to individuals on ways to keep fit. For an exceptional job in the nursing profession, nurses need to be ready to meet the numerous challenges that exist in the healthcare sector. According to scholars, individuals seeking to be nurses need to be dedicated at all times and always be at their best while working since their work deals with people’s lives. Like any other profession, nursing has its own rewards and challenges. For instance, the ability of nurses to connect with people suffering from different illnesses is rewarding. Through such connections, an intimate level is created. According to the research findings, there has been a shortage of trained nurses. This has affected the modes of operations in the healthcare sector.
Nurse Shortage Impact & Strategies
Research in the healthcare sector has been directed at finding out major contributing factors that have resulted in the nursing shortage. The shortage of qualified healthcare practitioners, such as nurses, affects the modes of operation within the healthcare sector. Factors such as high nurse-to-client ratios and stress in the workplace make it challenging for hospital managers to retain qualified nurses (Cherry & Jacob, 2016). To solve this menace, nurses are offered continuing education, and effective reward systems have been introduced in the healthcare sector.
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This specialized training and incentives play a vital role in ensuring quality nursing care is achieved. Nowadays, hospitals are keen on creating and maintaining a high level of client care. Additionally, hospitals have in mind that effective customer care is the best way of maintaining their clients. Effective customer care translates to effective medical care. To achieve this, there is a need to retain nurses by enforcing actions such as equipping hospitals with modern healthcare technology and facilities is a measure of retaining nurses. Healthcare facilities help nurses perform incredible tasks, such as diagnosing diseases.
From a study by AMN Healthcare, 83 percent of nurses are satisfied with their choice regardless of the challenges they encounter daily (Reid, 2018). For example, nurses’ shifts are demanding. Unlike other professions, there exists no specific routine for nurses. The wide range of responsibilities that need to be performed by a nurse in a hospital or a medical facility is dictated by the kinds of patients they interact with. After interacting with the patients, nurses lay out procedures that will be followed during medical care. Surgeries are more demanding as compared to minor procedures. All procedures require a strict care schedule. Failure to adhere to the schedule will lead to ineffective medical care. Patients are attracted to hospitals that offer quality medical care. Quality medical care reduces the mortality rate in hospitals.
Nurse Job Satisfaction & Retention
Another factor that has contributed to the nursing shortage crisis is the failure of hospital managers to offer qualified nurses job satisfaction (Black, 2016). A decrease in job satisfaction makes nurses leave the client care setting, causing the crisis. The solution to retaining qualified nurses is to improve their work conditions (Cherry & Jacob, 2016). Improving the work conditions for nurses also helps reduce job stress. According to scholars, job stress contributes to other job-related problems, such as poor work performance. To improve nurse’s work performance, hospitals need to introduce motivation and reward systems that favor the roles and responsibilities of nurses.
According to scholars, both psychological and non-financial rewards play a critical role in nursing.
In particular, rewards and appreciation motivate nurses to work hard. There is a need for hospital managers to introduce efficient reward systems for nurses to boost their performance (Black, 2016). An efficient reward system for nurses comprises all the reward categories. However, most hospitals and medical facilities offer financial rewards only. Research findings indicate that a larger percentage of qualified nurses want to associate themselves with hospitals and medical facilities that provide quality medical care to visiting clients.
Continuing education is essential in improving nursing skills. Through continuing education, nurses are offered an opportunity to learn new skills that will improve their service delivery to patients (Cherry & Jacob, 2016). From taking part in continuing education, nurses are educated on how to handle new equipment that will be helpful in day-to-day activities. Hospital managers need to create a conducive working environment that will unite all staff members. This promotes teamwork, thus encouraging a proper relationship between the staff members and patients.
Despite the numerous challenges in nursing, nurses play a crucial role in making a difference in people’s lives through the constant interactions developed (Salminen et al., 2016). It is, therefore, essential for hospital managers to ensure that hospitals are well-equipped with new facilities that will ease the workload of nurses. This requirement will ensure a conducive working environment for nurses is achieved. Continuing education platforms and efficient reward systems help improve the work performance of nurses in a great way. Nowadays, hospitals focus on recruiting more nursing professionals to help reduce the workload in the healthcare sector. Both the government and hospitals have introduced effective measures that will help retain nurses in hospitals in order to curb the shortage of nurses that has been on the rise.
In conclusion, the numerous challenges within the nursing profession have affected healthcare service delivery. As a result, relevant authorities have established different measures that will help curb further challenges in the healthcare sector. Also, advancements in healthcare technology have greatly reduced the workloads that previously existed in nursing. Rewards influence work-related behavior within an organization (Odelius et al., 2017). Rewarding nurses helps boost their work performance by motivating them to work hard. As discussed, to improve the work performance of nurses, there is a need for hospitals to address nurse’s concerns. The nursing profession plays a crucial role in enabling the well-being of patients. Hospitals and government institutions have collaborated to ensure that nurses no longer encounter challenges that affect their work performance.
- Black, B. (2016). Professional Nursing-E-Book: Concepts & Challenges. Elsevier Health Sciences.
- Cherry, B., & Jacob, S. R. (2016). Contemporary nursing: Issues, trends, & management. Elsevier Health Sciences.
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- Reid, L. (2018). What it’s REALLY like to be a nurse, one of the most satisfying and in-demand jobs in America right now. [online] Pulselive.co.ke. Available at: https://www.pulselive.co.ke/bi/strategy/what-it-s-really-like-to-be-a-nurse-one-of-the-most-satisfying-and-in-demand-jobs-in-america-right-now-id8266781.html [Accessed 3 Sep. 2018].
- Salminen, H., Bonsdorff, M. V., Koponen, S., &Miettinen, M. (2016). Perceived development opportunities and reward satisfaction as antecedents of nurses’ job withdrawal intentions. International Journal of Work Innovation, 1(4), 330-352.