Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, nurses and other medical staff have benefited from unprecedented public support and have been hailed as heroes by everyone from patients to the president. Their mental health and the impact of watching so many deaths and disasters up close have also received widespread attention. In recent months, many Learn The pandemic has already sounded the alarm for the loss of our medical staff and painted a picture of an exhausted workforce suffering from various adverse physical and mental health effects.
However, the structural changes that help solve some of these problems seem to be lagging at best, and non-existent at worst.One polling It was found that one in five medical staff believed that they needed mental health services but could not get them. For nurses, the result is a career crisis.according to Survey of more than 1,000 nurses Carried out by our company, Trustworthy health, Nearly half of nurses are less loyal to this profession than before the pandemic. This finding is especially obvious among nurses under 40, who say that their commitment to the profession is 22% more likely than the average to decline.
These figures are particularly disturbing when you consider that the United States is already in a shortage of care when the pandemic hits and that tens of thousands of baby boom nurses may retire in the next few years. This means that we simply cannot afford the cost of losing our existing nurses, especially those who are in the early stages of their careers.The situation is serious enough The U.S. Senate recently met Discuss the problem and identify potential solutions.
Although it is great to see this issue get the attention of Congress, we cannot rely on slow legislative solutions to solve problems that require quick, decisive action. For nurses who are hesitant to leave but can still be persuaded, providing meaningful solutions in the short term is the only option. Hospitals and healthcare managers must work together to find ways to retain nurses and rethink how to manage nursing staff more broadly. The following are four possible strategies.
Prioritize the removal of the nurse in distress from the bedside
From last year’s conversations with frontline nurses and reading the supplementary responses to our survey, I’m very clear that many nurses who reported a reduction in their commitment to this profession are deeply conflicted. Some will leave, but others are suffering trauma and extreme pain and just need to redistribute. The head nurse needs to meet with their staff individually and transfer nurses in times of mental distress from the most demanding department to a less important role or completely away from the bedside.
Develop a career plan
Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, the healthcare industry was not particularly good at retaining nurses and Nearly 20% They left their first position in two years. One of the main driving factors here is that nurses think they are treated as one-off by the facility and work to the point of exhaustion, rather than caring about their well-being or professional development. Career planning-in the hospital where it exists-rarely considers personal preferences or career goals. Unlike their baby boomers, millennials and Gen Z nurses are less interested in choosing between working in the same institution for years or even decades and choosing between standard paths of advanced practice or management to develop their own careers. In order to retain these nurses and involve them, the hospital needs to create a structured career planning method that first helps nurses determine what path appeals to them—leadership, education, or clinical—and then work hard to set a schedule , Identify opportunities, and provide guidance.
Remove the “hero” label and focus on substantial cultural change. Since the outbreak, many medical staff Talked about Oppose Known as a hero. Especially nurses are contradictory at best, and at worst they regard it as a manipulation.In fact, less than a quarter of respondents Our research believes that this label is appropriate, and 49% of people think this label is too simplistic and require them to sacrifice their health and well-being for others.The hospital needs to give up “Heroes work here” banners and other gestures, such as yoga classes and pizza parties, and focus on a comprehensive mental health plan.This should include a variety of different options, such as Crisis support, Education and coping mechanisms that sympathize with fatigue and moral harm, as well as peer-to-peer consultations with other clinicians who understand the unique stressors faced by nurses.An excellent program is Strong heart From the Ohio State University School of Nursing, the college uses cognitive behavioral therapy to build adaptability and coping skills for clinicians. [Editor’s Note: The author’s employer had a partnership with OSU College of Nursing to connect their advanced practice nurses and faculty with other nurses who were in a period of distress during the height of the pandemic. Now, the partnership has been paused.]
Reconsider the staffing of nurses. The thinking about staffing in the healthcare industry has not kept up with today’s work reality at all. Young nurses want the same flexibility as their peers in other departments. Many of them are trying travel care for the first time during the pandemic, and even if COVID-19 weakens in the United States, they are not keen to return to full-time roles.
In order to provide these nurses with the options they are looking for without having to pay the high costs normally associated with temporary workers, hospitals and health systems need to move from a passive approach to an active approach to recruiting and filling shifts. This means comprehensively reviewing employee PTO, census, fill rate and other data to determine the best fulfillment strategy, and then using smart technology to push additional shifts to floating pools, local daily nurses, and traveling nurses. Forcing nurses to work overtime, or on the contrary, requiring additional shifts, and the long-term lack of resources in the team will only prompt more nurses to consider leaving the organization or industry.
Last year, I showed the world what I already knew: nurses are the most selfless, passionate and caring professionals there. However, even the most caring people cannot maintain this method indefinitely, and the pandemic has indeed pushed nurses to the limit. Although most of the recent data is frustrating, I really believe that it is not too late to bring this profession back from the fringe and start investing in nurses in the way they have always deserved.
Photo: SDI Productions, Getty Images
This article has been updated with editor’s notes.