Healthcare in America Is Impossible Without Great Nurses

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Courtesy of COD Newsroom (Flickr CC0)

Factors contributing to a suspected shortage of doctors include two financial considerations. The cost of attending our colleges and universities, not to mention medical school, has become outrageous. The fear of being forced to pay for student loans into middle age is worrisome for lower-income Americans. With the cost of tuition rising every day, fewer middle and lower-income men and women have the ability to attend our colleges and universities.

This is upsetting, but more concerning to every patient is how serious the shortage of nurses has become. Nurses are responsible for every detail of patient care, providing it themselves or supervising the situation.

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Courtesy of UN Women Asia & the Pacific (Flickr CC0)

Although it is obvious that nurses are underpaid and overworked, this is only a part of the problem. The pandemic exacerbated the difficulties already faced by those working in our healthcare system, and nurses felt the additional strain in every aspect of their daily responsibilities.

The problem will affect some areas more than others. For instance, California is expected to have the largest shortage, while Florida will have a surplus. Much of these factors are based on the age of the patients. For decades older RNs moved into teaching. Many of these men and women are of “baby boomer” age and retiring, leaving behind holes in the system.

Nursing is one of the most stressful jobs in America. Most of our nation’s hospitals are “for profit.” When costs increase, some of the first cuts come from the nursing staff, placing extra work and pressure on those remaining. This situation has increased the number of resignations. The majority of nurses love their profession, but conditions in many hospitals are making it intolerable.

A report from a team studying the growing shortage reports the problem will continue to grow over the next 18 months.

“The nursing shortage was really being amplified by the pandemic,” the report’s co-author Anne Dabrow Woods, chief nurse of Wolters Kluwer, Health, Learning, Research, and Practice, told Fierce Healthcare.

“When you looked at the numbers, we knew that nurses were moving from one position to another, away from the bedside,” Woods said. In addition, she noted that nurses from the baby boomer generation were retiring.

The report notes that “for decades, industry experts have been sounding the alarm on a nursing shortage. But challenges have transformed into a full-blown crisis.”

Stress and burnout are at the core of the increasing number of resignations. The study shows that nearly one-third of all nurses plan to resign in 2022.

Nurses engage in conversations with their patients, and there is no doubt that many patients face financial problems after they are released. This adds stress to their already difficult jobs.

“The truth lives here,” and this should not surprise anyone, but it should frighten everyone. After the pandemic began to subside, millions of American workers began to reevaluate their lives before COVID-19. America has become a “seller’s market.” Millions of men and women are demanding better pay, benefits, and working conditions in jobs that they will enjoy. Nurses are no different other than one very important difference: hospitals cannot function without a fully staffed medical team, and nurses are more critical than all others.

Op-ed by James Turnage
Edited by Sheena Robertson

Sources:

USA Edu: The 2021 American Nursing Shortage: A Data Study
Fierce Healthcare: Nursing shortage looms large and projected to intensify in next 18 months: report
Chief Healthcare Executive: America is facing a shortage of doctors and it could get worse

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of COD Newsroom’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of UN Women Asia and the Pacific’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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