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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Staffing Crisis: A Call for Reflection and Support among Nurses

The nurse staffing shortage significantly impacts our profession in several ways. It increases the nurse workload, decreases job satisfaction, and increases turnover rates, not to mention its impact on quality care delivery. 

My staff often came to me during my tenure as Director of Nursing, advocating for more help even before the COVID pandemic. The irony was that every time I hired a new nurse, they would leave before their three months evaluation. The number 1 reason for their sudden exit was mainly the dissatisfaction of feeling unsupported on the job, often by peers and sometimes management, followed by the heavy workload. Very few attributed their departure to poor compensation. 

Recently I was conversing with one of my long-term care administrator friends about the staffing crisis she was facing at her facility and how she could not get nurses to stay on the job.

We concluded our conversation by acknowledging that systemic changes and support from healthcare organizations and policymakers alone could not be the solution and that, as individual nurses, we needed to reflect deeply on our attitudes and relationships with each other on the job.

Yes! It is time for self-reflection! Please pause and reflect by asking yourself these questions.

  • Am I kind to my coworkers?
  • How can I be an effective mentor to others?
  • Am I a team player?
  • Am I tolerant of the new nurse on a unit?
  • Are my coworkers eager to work after me?
  • What can I do to be a better version of myself?
  • What positive impact do I have at my workplace?

We all have a part to play in improving workplace nurse staffing issues. Here are a few suggestions:

Mentor and support new nurses: Experienced nurses can mentor and support new nurses entering the workforce. By sharing their knowledge and expertise, they can help new nurses adapt quickly to their roles and improve their confidence and competence.

Promote teamwork and collaboration: Nurses can foster a culture of teamwork and collaboration among the healthcare team. By building strong relationships with coworkers and promoting effective communication, nurses can enhance efficiency, reduce errors, and support each other during challenging times.

Take care of your well-being: Nurses should prioritize their well-being to ensure they are in the best possible condition to provide quality care. This includes practicing self-care, managing stress, and seeking support when needed. Nurses can maintain resilience and prevent burnout by caring for themselves, ultimately contributing to a healthier work environment.

Be culturally sensitive with your coworkers: The nursing workforce is becoming increasingly diverse. Nurses come from around the world to work and help reduce the workload and burden. Nurses should be accommodating and collaborate in teaching and learning each other’s culture and values to foster workplace integration.

Participate in professional organizations and initiatives: Nurses can actively engage with professional organizations and initiatives that focus on improving staffing conditions and advocating for the nursing profession. By joining forces with others who share similar goals, nurses can have a collective voice and work towards positive changes at a broader level.

Let’s support each other. NSDxpert empowers you through training, mentorship, and coaching on strategies to improve your job satisfaction and retention. Visit our website. www.nsdxpert.com 

Happy Reading!

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