Healthcare issues are important for any state, because they concern all people. Some of them may become critical and demonstrate their profound negative influence on how the healthcare system works. One of such issues for the USA is the lack of medical personnel, which affects the delivery of healthcare and its quality. This essay discusses nursing shortage in the USA and unfavorable conditions, in which they work, and strives to prove that there are some effective strategies to combat the situation and they should be immediately implemented to avoid serious damaging of the American healthcare.
The issue of nursing shortage in the USA is commonly discussed. The problem is believed to differ from the previous waves and it consists of the following components: “fewer nurses entering the workforce; acute nursing shortages in certain geographic areas; and a shortage of nurses adequately prepared to meet certain areas of patient need.” (Strategies to reverse, n.d., para. 3). Thus, the strategies to combat the situation should also be new and may include: (1) education: to accelerate graduate studies for nurses, support the development of staff programs for healthcare employers, promote nursing career for young people through social organizations; (2) work environment: to retain experienced nurses through introducing more flexibility into their work, to reward them for serving as mentors, to increase salaries and benefits, to provide nurses with sufficient autonomy; (3) legislation and regulations: to advocate for more distinct determination of the nurses’ functions; (4) technology and research: to investigate the potential of using latest technological advances to fight the nursing shortage (Strategies for reverse, n.d.). It is important to start with one of the points and gradually implement the rest to achieve the best results.
One more important aspect in the context of the discussed issue is the negative working environment, created for nurses as a result of certain factors. The most powerful of them is stress (Jennings, 2008 ). Nursing profession has long been regarded to be full of pressure, “based upon the physical labor, human suffering, work hours, staffing, and interpersonal relationships.” (Jennings, 2008, p.26). The tension may increase due to the implementation of some technological innovations, which nurses do not fully understand or rising healthcare costs, which make patients nervous. The described stress at work may cause additional family problems at home for nurses, which make them even more stressful (Jennings, 2008). Not all the enumerated factors have been formed solely by the government or the healthcare settings, in which caregivers work. Some of them were originated by the individual psychological state and the character of the profession. However, it is important for the authorities to eliminate all artificially created circumstances.
It is obvious that in the current situation, some moral stresses are added to low salaries, nursing shortage and lack of explanations about the aforementioned technological advances. All these factors create negative working environment and may lead to the burnout, an intention to leave (Jennings, 2008). Therefore, the situation represents a vicious circle – even if nurses want to work, the unfavorable working conditions make them leave the positions and create deficiency of such professionals, which can be decreased only be improving the workplace environment.
To conclude, it is important to note that the shortage of nurses is not a new phenomenon in the USA and the current outbreak is especially strong. Thus, this fact confirms that the state has not even taken any effective strategies to solve the issue forever. It is the right time to do it now by changing the unfavorable working environment, implementing some financial incentives and assisting young nurses in receiving a high-quality education. The Americans need such specialists to feel secure that they are protected in case of any medical problem, and the issue of nursing shortage should be resolved.
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