6 Challenges Faced By Nurses Post Pandemic

6 Challenges Faced By Nurses Post Pandemic

Challenges Faced By Nurses are Staff Shortages, Inadequate Self-Care, Toxic Working Environment, Pandemic-Induced Stress, Meeting Expectations, Workplace Hazards.

It took the WHO a little over a month to declare the Covid-19 outbreak as a global pandemic. The pandemic not only raised concerns over the shortage of testing supplies and personal protective equipment but also increased the levels of stress and burnout among nurses and other healthcare practitioners.

However, during any disaster, be it floods, war, or pandemics, the entire healthcare system and especially the nurses are at the frontlines, providing care to patients.

Challenges Faced By Nurses As Frontline Workers

Whether it is a pandemic or not, nurses are always on the frontline, and they’re always one of the most vulnerable professionals. They are responsible for providing adequate medical and holistic care to every patient. Considering that nurses make up the majority of healthcare providers, they play a critical role in the overall healthcare system.

In the case of Covid-19, their role and responsibilities in treating infected patients involved identifying cases with infections and triaging the patients. They provided essential treatment, coordinated with other healthcare providers for administering treatment, dealt with patients’ relatives and managed their hopes and expectations, played a critical role in scaling care services to meet the increasing demand, and supplied holistic nursing practices in handling and managing various infections simultaneously.

Therefore, nurses should be well equipped and armed with the required knowledge and skills in handling crises; such as pandemics, that involve decontamination, clinical treatment, isolation, triaging, communication, palliative care, and psychological support.

In this case, investing in proper education programs to help hone skills and develop knowledge is the best way to go. Since isolation measures were in place throughout the world, online masters in nursing programs were popular choices for healthcare workers who had to fulfill nursing duties apart from pursuing studies.

Post-Pandemic Challenges Faced By Nurses

Nurses faced numerous challenges during the global pandemic that might have contributed to the higher attrition rates. The challenges that had surfaced during that time have only become more exacerbated with time.

Here, we’ve highlighted a few of those challenges:

Staff Shortages

With an insufficient workforce comes the problem of unmanageable patient load and disparity in the patient-nurse ratio. When there’s a rise in patients, as happens during pandemics, combined with high-attrition rates in nurses, it can lead to more work burden for the nurses that remain.

Patient care suffers greatly due to staff shortages, leading to more deaths and infections.

When nurses are required to handle more patients than usual, they are unable to provide proper guidance regarding the patient-care plans, which would lead to an unsatisfactory patient experience.

Inadequate Self-Care

While the nurses are busy providing medical help for the pandemic-affected patients; it is also important that they take care of themselves. The nurses often neglect themselves in their struggle to provide the best care to patients. As caregivers, nurses required to care for others first and this leads to physical and mental health problems.

Working as a nurse in the healthcare industry is stressful and leads to stress-related health issues. Thus, Challenges Faced By Nurses need to take time off to relax and unwind.

Toxic Working Environment

Nurses in the post-pandemic world face another challenge: working in toxic work environments. The toxic work conditions that nurses have to work in making them face verbal attacks, harassment, and unethical attitudes of co-workers, management, and senior colleagues.

According to the World Health Organization, around 8% to 40% of healthcare providers have suffered some form of mental; and physical abuse while working in hostile work environments in the healthcare industry.

Pandemic-Induced Stress

As we’ve mentioned that the pandemic was the main driving factor behind staff shortages, it also did lead to extensively long-shift hours for the nurses that had decided to remain. The burden of providing medical care to an increasing number of patients fell on the shoulders of the dwindling number of nurses which inadvertently led to stress and exhaustion in the nurses.

The need to meet the high demand for medical care caused by the pandemic increased the frequency of overtime hours that nurses required to put in to keep up with the demand. Exhaustion and stress can make nurses commit minor errors in judgment that could lead to not only bad healthcare but; in the worst-case scenarios, tragic consequences.

Meeting Expectations

When seeking medical assistance, you expect quality healthcare service and adequate attention and care. However, the staffing shortages and budget cuts provide little in the way of motivation for the Challenges Faced By Nurses to perform to the best of their abilities.

Patients who are not attended to properly due to the above-mentioned reasons may feel; that their expectations were misplaced and that the healthcare system isn’t as good as it should be.

Workplace Hazards

When working long hours, under immense pressure and stress, the nurses are at a higher risk from occupational health hazards. Many nurses confronted with chemical, physical and biological hazards while performing their jobs.

A mind that stressed isn’t good at concentrating on work, and therefore; the risk of injury that comes with handling heavy machinery, harmful chemicals, and not adhering to protocols increase manifold.

Ways To Avoid These Challenges

All the challenges discussed above are interdependent and interlinked. Thus, it is important to look deeper into the causes of the issues to effectively deal with these trials.

For instance, it is crucial to maintain a work-friendly environment. The nurses should given adequate safety and security. There should be an adequate supply of medical equipment and the importance of teamwork should be stressed.

Moreover, staff shortages could avoided through a retention policy, awareness drives and maintaining an active pipeline of new hirings. Reduction in workload per nurse will reduce incidents of medical errors; help in maintaining patient satisfaction and expectations in the healthcare industry.

Last words on Challenges Faced By Nurses:

The public has a right to quality healthcare. But, during the pandemic, the nurses, burdened with enormous amounts of work, may have fallen short of providing exemplary healthcare. But, the way they rose up to meet the expanding demand was extraordinary and that’s why they are our heroes. Looking into the challenges discussed in the article above will make the healthcare industry robust enough to face crises in the future. If you’d like to become a nurse to help with any future crises, look into online programs at the University of Texas at Arlington.

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