The nursing shortage is ravaging the country in many ways. In some regions, the ratio of nurses to patients is 100 to one. Areas struck hard by the Delta variant are under even further pressure to the high demand for care and services.
Some people worry this shortage could cause patients to receive subpar care. While all of this may sound scary, it’s essential to pay attention to the details of this shortage and what it means to patients.
The nursing shortage could mean nurses can’t give each patient the appropriate amount of time. Most folks who visit their doctor or health care center have gotten used to working with a nurse for a while. This person spends a lot of time with the patient. They get to know patients intimately and listen to their needs. Sometimes, that’s exactly what a patient needs to feel taken care of. The fact that patients wonder if they’ll have sufficient time is valid. There’s no need to stress out about this; nurses will continue to offer each patient the same amount of time and level of care needed for effective treatment and recovery. Nurses know what patients expect, and that won’t change.
A shortage of nurses could mean all sorts of things. Some people see this as an indication of subpar care. This fear makes some sense. When there’s a shortage, many businesses have no choice but to lower their hiring requirements. While this might be the case in most industries, it’s against the law to do so in the medical field. All nurses continue to undergo thorough background checks before getting hired. Failure to properly vet their staff can land hospitals in legal hot water, including criminal prosecution.
With such a significant shortage, nurses may work longer hours and sometimes even an extra day during the week. This may be the current solution, but it’s also not a great one since nurses require a lot of rest to ensure they can give optimal care when working. This is creating fear among patients. Some worry it’ll cause poor concentration or more mistakes on the job. This issue could affect patients, but people should know that the healthcare industry is hiring more professionals and increasing rotation to help deal with this particular problem.
The nursing shortage could also cause some nurses to feel too stressed. Nurses have to worry about more than they did before. All of this could make someone feel frustrated or maybe even upset. This could cause some nurses to feel resentful or even a little bitter. That’s not something patients are expecting from their nursing staff. Nurses are the hospital’s face, and they should be happy and welcoming. Some forget that nurses see some good here because the shortage means more perks for them. Housekeeping, babysitting services, and more are offered to nurses to make them happy. Nurses can demand higher pay now since there’s such a significant shortage, so a nurse will likely continue caring as most nurses are.
When there’s a shortage like this, smaller communities feel the hit more than larger cities. Small towns and rural communities can’t seem to get the care they deserve. It does make sense. Nurses are regular people, and they like to be in big cities where everything is convenient. Large hospitals also provide more flexibility, better pay, and sometimes growth opportunities. The good thing is technology is making things a little fairer and is fighting back against this shortage. State-of-the-art telehealth services connect nurses to patients, providing care more effectively and from anywhere as long as there’s internet service.
Care may be changing because of this shortage, but it’s not for the worst as some people have speculated. This isn’t to say that solutions aren’t needed, but for now, things still seem under control.