Nursing is not an easy job; this is a job that requires oodles of patience, great attitude, enormous resources of compassion and kindness and adaptability. Not everyone can take up nursing as a career vocation, and not everyone that takes it up actually succeeds, either. So what are the common problems nurses face in their jobs? Read on to know more.
1. Regular Back Pain
Nurses offer care and comfort to patients but they are usually rewarded for their efforts with continuous and sometimes debilitating back pain. Why do they suffer this severe back pain? This work-related low back pain occurs mostly because nurses hurt their backs while shifting bed-ridden patients, or while moving them among stretchers, beds and chairs. Nurses working in orthopedic and ICU have the highest rates of low back pain.
Nursing is a stressful job and even the most compassionate of nurses cannot escape this fact. Issues such as having to work unpaid overtime if required, and being expected to perform tasks over and beyond their training or competence level can cause a great amount of stress. Based on a report by Geetika Tankha in the Journal of Health Medicine in 2006, female nurses handle stress better in both private and public nursing situations than male nurses. Despite this fact, stress is very prevalent in nursing, at times causing nurses to retire earlier.
The nursing shortage has caused existing nurses to work long shifts, and take up high levels of workload. Many nurses work straight 12-hour shifts and often go without a meal or a bathroom break. Nurses find themselves pulled in many directions and often find it difficult to decide what to do next. There’s also the enormous amount of paperwork that is required to maintain certain standards, even though no one has the time to read these reports.
4. Pay Scales
Even though nursing pays better than a lot of jobs, nursing salaries are not consistent throughout the country. Private hospitals pay very less compared to public health care centers. This disparity has led to deep-rooted discontent among nurses, which affects their work life experience. As health care techniques and technologies advance, the overall cost of health care is escalating. Nurses all over the world believe that their present wages do not fairly compensate them for the service they perform. Decreases in benefits such as contributions to 401(k) and elimination of retirement pensions in some hospitals have only added fuel to the fire. Health care insurance costs are going up and nurses depend on their employers to insure their health. Present day hospital management does not show the same kind of loyalty that employers of the previous generation did, and this gives rise to job security issues.
5. Nursing Shortage
The rapidly approaching nursing shortage causes increased workload and job demands on the present day nurses. With increasing crime rates giving rise to more causalities and life-style related diseases, today’s patients are sicker than even those five years ago, requiring more direct care.
Added to this is the fact that the nursing shortage has given an opportunity to young people to join nursing schools in the hope of lucrative employment, whether they have the required aptitude or not. As a result, the new generation graduating from college doesn’t have the work ethic that the “older” nurses have. The new recruits tend to want to go straight into management positions without working in patient care. Since they don’t demonstrate the patience or the desire to understand nurse-patient relationship, the newer generation of nurses is less caring than the previous ones.
6. Feeling Undervalued
Nurses are often taken for granted by their employers, doctors, and the families of patients, who expect them to be tireless angels who don’t need a break. Other nurses, both female and male can either make you or break you and this includes management. As with any high stress and overworked kind of situation, attitudes, tempers and behavioral tendencies prevail in nursing. Some nurses act superior, making others feel useless and helpless. The unfortunate aspects of these personality clashes is that it’s the patients who are often neglected as the caring nurse gets caught up in useless personality issues surrounding her or him.
7. Lack Of Professional Respect
Many nurses claim that they don’t receive the respect that they deserve from other health care providers. The list includes administrators, physicians, management, and in some cases even senior nurses. As a result of this direct lack of respect, nurses perceive that they don’t have a voice in health care matters. Whether they have the training and competency for the task or not, nurses are placed in some of the most dangerous positions when it comes to providing patient care. In some hospitals, each nurse has far too many patients to manage individually. In order to resolve these issues, nurses in large hospitals form unions so that hospital administrators can hear their voices, but this is not the right answer to the issue they’re facing.
8. Difficult To Please Patients
Some patients tend to see nurses as people who should be available at their beck and call. With the exception of a few cases, the vast majority of patients are usually dissatisfied with any service that is provided. These patients display what’s called the ‘bell hugging’ behavior, which means frequent nurse call. Some patients often appear dissatisfied and angry at life and are difficult to please.