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NURSES FEEL OVERWHELMED AND UNDERAPPRECIATED.
I UNDERSTAND THE OVERWHELMED.
IT IS THE UNDERAPPRECIATION
THAT WE MUST FIX."
the problem isn’t just one of not attracting enough people
to the field; it’s also an issue of keeping them once they’ve
entered the profession. In a recent survey published in the journal
Health Affairs, more than 40 percent of hospital nurses reported
being dissatisfied with their jobs. Major sources of job dissatisfaction
among RNs include inadequate staffing, heavy workloads, increased
requirements to work overtime and lack of sufficient support staff.
shortage really comes from the exit of nurses from the workplace,”
says Linda Rosenstock, dean of the UCLA School of Public Health.
“A number of people decide not to continue to be employed
because it’s a very stressful job with occupational risks
that we should work to reduce.” Rosenstock notes that staffing
shortages are compounding already difficult conditions — conditions
that put nurses at elevated risk for back injury, infection and
violence — at many facilities. “We need to attract more
nurses to make up for the current shortage, but we also must attend
to some of the factors that caused us to lose a lot of the well-trained
workers in the first place,” she says. Hospitals that take
steps to give nurses more control over their work schedules help
not only their employees, but also the overall level of patient
care, Rosenstock adds.
has been one of those hospitals. In a survey by the Department of
Nursing, flexible scheduling, along with salary, ranked at the top
of the list of most important job factors. So the hospital’s
nurse managers have become more flexible when making staff-scheduling
decisions. “Five years ago, nurses would tell us days they
needed to be off,” says Crooks. “Now, they give us the
days they are able to work. Nurses today are really in the driver’s