More than 270 media outlets across the country have picked up the report from the National Nurses’ Stress Survey and are helping get your voices heard. Some of the outlets include The Huffington Post, Fox Business Network, Medscape.com and Healthline.com.
All of this attention to the dangerous stress levels among RNs comes at a perfect time. Today, 55% of registered nurses are baby boomers and will soon be exiting nursing. This will result in more than one million vacancies as many of the experienced baby boomers head for retirement or other, less stressful careers (such as Certified Legal Nurse Consultants).
If hospitals don’t address the dangerous stress levels and harsh working conditions RNs suffer, those same hospitals aren’t going to attract the next generation of nurses. Failure to fill those vacancies sends us hurtling toward a fatal nursing shortage which could trigger a national healthcare crisis as more patients (both from our aging population and the newly insured) flood our healthcare system.
Nursing formerly attracted the best and brightest, people who genuinely cared and were invested in the care they delivered. Young people are not going to buy into, or tolerate, the archaic business practices and Dickensian working conditions in healthcare. They have more fulfilling and prosperous options available to them.
What’s the future if hospitals don’t start behaving like businesses and treat RNs with respect and like the professionals they are? Will it be dumbed-down nursing programs that allow anyone to graduate and practice in the intensive care unit? Or is it unit staffing reduced to technicians supervised by the last surviving registered nurse? Or, is it robots (which may be the best idea of all) doing everything from monitoring a balloon pump to resuscitating a patient who’s suffered a cardiac arrest? It’s time to stop the insanity before it’s too late for all of us.
Pass the results of this survey to everyone you know. We need to keep spreading the word until healthcare facilities recognize registered nurses as the valuable assets they are. It’s time hospitals set up shared governance to give RNs a seat at the management table. Registered nurses are professionals and should be governing their own clinical practice like MDs, attorneys and every other professional does.
Share it today – the life and career you save may be your own.
I’m Just Sharin’
P.S. Comment on what you think the future of nursing will be.