Nurses are some of the hardest working and most vital people in America, but as nursing shortages increase and shocking overworking of current nurses continue, we have to ask what this means for our healthcare system, and for our country. Nurses save lives and take care of the country’s most vulnerable every single day, and hospitals could not survive without them. If the way nursing is currently going continues, could it become a crisis in America?
Dangers of Being a Nurse
Being a nurse is an important job, but it should not have to be a dangerous one. One risk to nurses is health issues from poor safety procedures against contagious or infectious diseases. This is made even worse due to the fact that if a nurse does become ill they will often be forced into working through it due to mandatory overtime. Another danger to nurses is physical violence. A nurse’s job is difficult, but being faced with assaults from patients and visitors, and other staff, makes it unacceptable. Violence against nurses has been steadily increasing every year over the last decade, but security procedures have not been increased or improved.
It isn’t Easy Replacing Them
Nursing is a job that requires a degree, and on top of that to become a successful nurse it will take years of training and learning after graduation. When a nurse does leave their job, it can be very hard to replace years of training. As well as this, there are many different kinds of nurse that need specialized training, which means it is not as simple as hiring a new nurse to fill a specific role. For example, ambulance nurses require very specific characteristics.
Current Nurses Are Being Spread Thin
One of the biggest issues facing nurses now is overexertion. The long shifts and mandatory overtime will overwork any nurse, and mean resources are spread thin. The 12-hour shift, a response to the 1970s nursing shortage, leaves many nurses only getting about 5 hours of sleep a night during their “on” days. This leads to issues such as exhaustion, lack of sleep, and burnout.
The issues facing nurses nowadays points towards a crisis hitting American healthcare. Nurses are vital to this country, and the worse their treatment and conditions are, the worse our country will be as a whole. That’s why we need to make sure nurses are properly cared for, so they can take care of others.
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