Being a nurse can be challenging. Although serving patients come with rewards, it is crucial to understand the toll it takes on a nurse. Additionally, any underlying issues that reduce nurses’ satisfaction at work should be mitigated.

1. Recognition for hard work

Nurses are known for making the effort to ensure that patients have a comfortable stay in the hospital. They often work very hard, due to the fast-paced nature of the profession.

It is crucial to acknowledge nurses’ hard work and show gratitude for what was done. Apart from the annual Nurses Appreciation Week, a simple “Thank you” is also greatly appreciated by nurses.

Additionally, showing appreciation for the extra time that nurses have devoted to patients and their families will boost employee engagement. This consequently leads to a circular effect of continuous extraordinary acts, improving the quality of patient care.

2. More time with patients

Dr Peter Carter, the former general secretary of the UK’s Royal College of Nursing said: “Nurses enter the profession because they want to care for patients, and so measures that increase the amount of time they spend with patients are a good thing. However, it is often problems with resourcing that reduce the amount of time nurses spend with patients.”

Nurses are usually overwhelmed with tasks such as completing paperwork at nursing stations, ensuring patients receive the right medications and searching for medical equipment. This depletes the time spent with patients during the 12-hour shifts.

Often, nurses want to spend more time interacting with patients. This will better meet patients’ needs and consequently lead to better quality patient care.

3. Better working conditions

“From the moment we step onto our unit, we are in a constant state of movement.” said Shelly Lopex Gray, a nurse.

With low pay and high workloads, nurses feel the brunt of the job and are exhausted from working hard. Seeing patients receive good medical treatment and rehabilitation may be satisfying, but it comes with a great level of stress too.

In view of this, several hospitals have been using technology to reduce paperwork and offer more flexible hours. This has improved nurses’ working conditions and decreased their workloads.

4. Greater upward mobility

Job mobility in bedside nursing can be difficult without an additional degree. Yet, a nursing degree may overqualify many from jobs outside of nursing. It may also not pay as much as the nurse’s current salary.

To get a job that pays the equivalent or more than the average RN makes will typically require additional years of school. However, this is a sacrifice that some nurses may not be able to make, given that this will require time away from work.

5. Better staffing

The lack of adequate staffing is one of the key reasons why nurses opt to leave the profession. In the United States, the need for the management to cut costs is often the cause of short staffing.

Unfortunately, fewer nursing staffs will also lead to a greater workload due to the added responsibilities. This will consequently cause nurses to burn out quickly.

In view of this, employers can consider mandating nurse-patient ratios to ease the burden on nurses. Since 2004, California has mandated nurse-patient ratios of 1:5 for staffs working in hospital settings. MIMS

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