Nurses play a crucial role in delivering quality care services in the healthcare industry. Looking after the patients when they are in the most vulnerable condition and offering support when they are at their lowest are some of the primary responsibilities of nurses.
While it is undoubtedly an immensely gratifying profession, new nurses often have to face plenty of challenges during the initial stages of their careers.
Apart from nervousness, it may take time for them to get accustomed to new environments, and they may get rushed for time. Taking crucial decisions daily and the seemingly never-ending chartering process may force even the experienced to throw in the towel.
Following are some of the most significant and evident struggles graduate nurses face.
Shortage of nursing professionals
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shortage of nursing staff has been a concern in the healthcare industry. In 2020, healthcare facilities in the US needed 80,000 nurses to cope with the influx of patients.
Though this was good news for new nurses, their lack of experience in the field made delivering quality healthcare to patients a very challenging affair.
Today, healthcare organizations and clinical facilities employ fewer nurses to meet their budgets and save costs, leaving them to contend with various challenges they’re not experienced to handle and need guidance.
Pro Tip: Consider higher education
While healthcare organizations should take necessary actions to recruit and retain the best talent; however, novice-level nurses should invest in their careers and gain more hands-on experience.
As the younger generation becomes susceptible to new diseases and the baby boomer population grows old, the need for holistic care becomes even more critical.
Therefore, nurses such as FNPs, whose main aim is to promote a healthy lifestyle for all ages, should enroll in an online msn-fnp program to educate the public about preventive healthcare.
That way, FNPs can promote healthy lifestyles and prepare the best treatment plans for their patients to help them live their lives to the fullest. Not only this, but nurses can also stay updated with the latest medical practices and feel more satisfied at work.
1. Medical errors
While even experienced nurses aren’t immune to mistakes, medication errors are one of the leading occurrences for new nurses. They inadvertently administer wrong medications or give incorrect doses to patients.
Some common reasons for medication errors are poor communication and failure to comply with the given guidelines. Also, new nurses often get confused with similar-sounding drug names or struggle with interpreting the medical abbreviations. Since the half-life of medicines is unique, the dosage of every drug is also different.
Pro Tip: Stay focused
The repercussions of medication errors can be severe as the patients may even lose their lives. Therefore, nursing graduates must double, triple, and quadruple-check before administering medications.
A valid approach is to remember the five rights while giving medications – ‘right’ patient, ‘right’ medication, ‘right’ time, ‘right’ dose, and the ‘right’ route.
Also, another factor that causes medical errors is distractions in the workplace. Therefore, the administration should reduce distractions, so new nurses are more attentive to their work.
In addition, they must ask questions for feedback and opinions regarding their performance.
2. Improper documentation
Jotting down every crucial detail about the patient’s condition and treatment plans within the chart is the fundamental responsibility of new nurses. However, when starting their careers as nurses, the last thing new nurses think about is the paperwork they would have to deal with throughout their careers. And thus, unfortunately, it is also where newbies struggle.
Documentation is an essential mode of communication between nurses, physicians, and other healthcare practitioners. Improper documentation errors can lead to significant blunders and yield ripple effects.
This can also influence the performance of doctors who rely on charts to stay updated with the patient’s condition.
Pro Tip: document everything and be thorough
Fresh nursing graduates must be extra careful when recording the patient’s information. Try to go for a standardized form, and be clear and concise with the details such as vitals, medical history, and upcoming surgery schedules.
Moreover, they must document everything, such as discontinued medication instructions, alternative medication, and any changes in the patient’s condition. Some minor details may seem unimportant; however, they can affect the quality of care is overlooked.
Therefore, keep tabs on even the most insignificant details. And in case of uncertainties, it never hurts to consult an experienced professional.
3. Long shifts and burnout
Although a rewarding profession, a nurses’ job is far different from a conventional 9-5 one. Hospital settings and clinical facilities often prepare grueling work schedules such as calling nurses for three 12-hour days and four days off.
However, there are times when healthcare facilities face crises, and they may need the services of nurses for more than 12 hours.
When fresh grads work tirelessly for longer shifts and irregular work schedules, it becomes challenging to carve out time for short breaks. As a result, they suffer from backaches, leg and shoulder pain.
Caring for patients with severe illnesses leads to traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, and burnout. Common burnout symptoms may include alienation from work – new nurses get frustrated and feel detached from the work. Not only this, but they are also unable to attain a healthy work-life balance.
Pro Tip: Make self-care a priority
The primary goal of nurses is to serve the patients well and provide quality care. However, that would only be possible when they are in the best of health. Therefore, it’s crucial to opt for wise, healthy lifestyle choices for new nurses to work at their full potential.
Try to squeeze in time for short walks, eat a well-balanced diet, and exercise regularly to strengthen muscles and boost energy levels.
To say the nursing profession only requires empathy would be an understatement. Instead, it also requires perseverance and commitment as the field encompasses plenty of struggles. Therefore, it’s crucial to equip yourself with the correct information to avoid any likelihood of errors.
And even if you make one, it’s even more important to know the steps to mitigate the impacts of those errors.
Besides, you must also keep your body and mind in check. So eat well, exercise more often, and get adequate sleep to navigate your struggles positively.
Additionally, healthcare facilities must also take necessary measures to cultivate a conducive environment for new nurses. Addressing their concerns and proposing solutions can make the nurses feel confident, determined, and affirmed to continue providing quality healthcare services without any constraints.