High Demand, High Pay, High Stress, and Low Supply: How Registered Nursing Staffers Are Dealing with It All

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By 2022, just four short years from now, the projected shortage of registered nurses is expected to hit one million in the United States alone. This country will be short one million nurses, and it will be needing them to care for the elderly and sick at that time. Worse still, nursing programs cannot keep up. They have enrollment caps that prevent potential new nursing candidates from receiving the education and training they need to fill the void of nurses. What, exactly, has caused these issues, and what can be done to fix it? Here is how registered nursing staffers are dealing with the current shortage, and how they might deal with it in the very near future.

High Stress

Nursing is a very high-stress job. You are on your feet all day or all night, dealing with patients who do not feel well, have severely injured themselves, or are unable to move for one reason or another. You are required to perform your expected duties in the time allotted to you on your shift, but most of the time, the nursing staff are spread too thin, and no accommodations are made for emergency situations or for unexpected events.

If you specialize in one particular area, such as cardiology, your stress levels go even higher. Add to that the fact that you may be only one of two or the only registered nurse on duty on any one shift, and now you have to deal with being in charge of an entire floor or an entire wing. Some registered nurses are either fired for not meeting hospital or clinic demands or they quit because the stress gets to them. This only adds to the shortage of available registered nurses and complicates the problem further.

Not Great Solutions

To make things worse, a lot of hospitals are making nurses work double shifts, multiple days in a row, before being able to take a single day off. Nurses with higher rank can have two days off in a row if they want them. This makes shifts doubly long and doubly hard on the mind and body. Some other hospitals have turned to RN staffing agencies for help because they cannot fill positions or keep registered nurses under the current circumstances. Overtime is almost always available and approved, but after working many days of double shifts, most nurses would rather not come into work for the extra money.

In the Near Future

In the near future, more and more hospitals are going to rely on nursing agencies to staff them. They may also turn to training new registered nurses right on the job. There is a lot of liability in training nurses this way, but it may be the only other way to help cover the massive shortages that are coming.

For more information about registered nurse staffing, contact businesses like PRN Solutions Inc.