We hear over and over again that there is a shortage of healthcare workers across the country, and the problem is going to get worse. It’s the same story – there are more people than ever before with access to healthcare, the number of senior citizens is growing, and students aren’t graduating from nursing school fast enough to meet this demand of patients. Yet, the untold story is the way in which these nursing shortage issues negatively impact both healthcare workers and patients. How can travel nurses help?
Nursing Shortage Issues: Three Ways the Quality of Patient Care Declines
The main way that the nursing shortage impacts patient care is that it puts patient safety in jeopardy. With fewer nurses available, this means fewer hands-on-deck to help. Healthcare teams are making more mistakes, such as forgetting or wrongfully dosing medications. Also, patients are often not receiving care as quickly as they need it. Although medical errors can happen regardless if a hospital is short staffed or not, the chances drastically increase when there is a nursing shortage.
We’ve all seen it or heard about patients waiting in the emergency room for hours. Overcrowding in hospitals is often directly tied to nursing shortage issues. The fewer people available to provide care, the fewer people that can come through the hospital in a day.
Although delayed care is similar to overcrowding issues, there are also times when patients can’t access care at all. For example, if there is a nursing shortage within a certain specialty or hospital unit, patients who need that type of care can go a long time without treatment. They either have to wait for that care to become available or they have to travel somewhere else for it.
Nursing Shortage Issues: Three Ways Nurses Struggle
The nursing shortage means that the nurses who are working are working a lot. They are working long shifts back to back, and that is exhausting. This contributes to medication errors and other mistakes – you can’t take care of people to the best of your ability when you are exhausted.
Increased stress levels
Working long hours and being short staffed is stressful, and so nursing shortage issues lead to nurses who are burnt out. Burn out is common in the healthcare industry because it takes so much of your heart, mind, and body to maintain care of many patients. However, when there aren’t enough people there to help carry the weight, that burden is heavy on those working.
The third way nurses struggle from the shortage is when it comes to their job satisfaction. Obviously, it is no surprise that if you work long hours and are stressing out constantly, you aren’t going to be very happy with your job.
How Travel Nurses Help Nursing Shortage Issues
Fill gaps in care
Travel nurses go where there are gaps in care and fill open positions. They not only fill in at busy city hospitals, but they also go to rural areas where there are shortages simply because a lot of people don’t live or stay in the area. They also help out in states that get an influx of patients during certain times of the year, like Florida.
Since travel nurses need at least one or two years of experience, they are already trained and ready to hit the ground running when they arrive on assignment. This is a huge help for hospital staff who are swamped. They don’t have to spend weeks training someone. Travel nurses show up ready to help out where they are needed the most.
Travel nurses are also helpful because they require less paperwork for hospitals than hiring full-time staff. When it comes to travel nursing, most of the paperwork takes place between the nurse and the travel agency they are working with. To hire a nurse full time takes several interviews, paperwork, and of course the additional costs of providing the insurance and benefits. Travel nurses require a quick phone interview and they show up ready to go.
Help address nursing shortage issues and sign up for travel nursing today!