Mainstream media outlets appear to have evaded the subject of the looming nursing shortage. Yet, a decade ago, it was a hot-button topic across the spectrum. Unfortunately, more of today’s nurses are opting to pursue different careers, putting pressure on an industry that will grow by 16 percent, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2024. In fact, up to 8.6 percent of nurses left their healthcare careers between 2014 and 2015, explains Nursing Times. So, you need to think about why more nurses are leaving the profession and why travel nursing might be an ideal option for the nurses that remain.
Nurses May Lack Employer Support.
Nurses are the frontline workers in healthcare. They see patients and provide vital information back to physicians, nurse practitioners and other healthcare workers. Yet, employers may not offer the level of support needed by these talented professionals. Employers may be solely focused with numbers, sacrificing nurse-to-patient ratios in favor of financial gains. This heavy workload, asserts Healthcare Finance, contributes to exodus rates of 49.8 percent among nurses nationwide. In addition, employers might have placed new limitations on benefits and failed to provide adequate time off.
Too Much Direction Begets Belittling of Nurses.
Nurses go to school for years to learn critical thinking skills that help them act in a health crisis. On the surface, plenty of direction promotes best practices and adherence to evidence-based standards and quality of care. However, excessive oversight builds a sense of distrust, leaving nurses to feel like drones or foot workers, not the talented caregivers they are. Meanwhile, up to 16 percent of nurses cite a loss of job satisfaction as a cause for leaving the professional. In other words, burnout among nurses is growing worse, and growing documentation requirements are not helping.
Wages Have Not Kept Pace With Inflation.
In 2013, Scrubs magazine reported nurses had seen a $20,000 increase in wages since 2000, bringing the annual wage to $63,944. However, the annual wage average had risen barely $3,500 by December 2015. Meanwhile, the average rate of inflation, reports Inflation Data, has remained near 2 percent monthly for more than 10 years. Of course, a few months saw negative inflation rates. But, the overall trend toward continued inflation means the cost of living has risen much faster than increases among nursing wages. Thus, more nurses are looking for other ways to make a living in today’s economy.
3 Keys to Reducing Burnout Among Nurses.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing the exodus of nurses from the field. However, a few tips might help some nurses learn to regain their trust in healthcare and face the looming shortage with a positive outlook. These tips include the following:
- Consider travel nursing. Travel nursing gives nurses an opportunity to experience new places and practices without the oversight of traditional, in-house careers. In fact, up to 22 percent of nurses have taken on additional work as travel nurses to supplement their incomes, reports Market Wired.
- Work for places that have embraced electronic charting. Up to 15 percent of nurses cite documentation requirements as a reason for leaving, but in general, most people can type faster than they write by hand. With increasing charting requirements, the transition to electronic charting will naturally speed the process, and it can help nurses fearful of blowback from incorrectly charting something as well. For example, the electronic health record (EHR) may have notifications if critical notes or unusual vital signs are documented to prevent errors.
Nurses should feel respected and supported. This tip is primarily directed toward facilities, but nurses should take an active role in assuming support and respect in the workplace. If supervisors or coworkers fail to respect nurses, they should be reported to the appropriate individual in a facility. Even if management harasses or otherwise disrespects them, nurses must be willing to go further up in the hierarchy to resolve the issue.
- Contact APN Healthcare Solutions to Find Out More About Travel Nursing Now.
By 2024, the demand for registered nurses is expected to reach 3,190,000. With nurses leaving the profession now, the looming shortage could become more severe than anyone anticipates. If you have thought about changing careers, it might be time to give travel nursing a chance. Fill out the online contact form today, or give APN Healthcare Solutions a call at 1 (609) 924-3400.