Four strategies to properly support and reinvigorate the nursing sector
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While the last two years of the pandemic have shown how resilient and crucial nurses are to society, the growing shortage of nurses continues to have a dramatic impact on the healthcare industry. Nurses are leaving the field at an alarming rate and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has predicted a potential shortage of 13 million nurses worldwide by 2030. As many nurses reach retirement age, burnout and continued stress from the pandemic have become critical issues. major factors in the decision to leave the profession.
In the United States, the recent studies show that more nursing jobs will be available over the next two years compared to any other occupation, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that 11 million new nurses will be needed to tackle the shortage. Proactive steps must be taken to address this shortage. To do this, health systems, hospitals and educational institutions must come together and provide better support and resources to current and future nurses.
Below are four ways that I believe the healthcare industry and its leaders can invigorate the nursing industry while encouraging new nurses to practice.
1. Improve clinical judgment skills to prepare nurses ready to practice
Clinical judgment is a vital component of a nurse’s day-to-day responsibilities, but research shows that many nurses entering the profession have not properly developed these necessary skills. As a result, nearly 40% of new nurses reported making medication errors and 50% reported missing signs of life-threatening conditions. The stress associated with these errors leads to high turnover rates, with some hospitals experiencing nurse turnover rates as high as 35% during the first year of employment.
To strengthen the development of these skills and ensure nurses are ready to practice, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is updating its National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX). Starting in 2023, the exam will include sections to measure a student’s clinical judgment and decision-making ability. As students and educators prepare for these changes, a forthcoming study in the Journal of Professional Nursing has demonstrated a path to NCLEX success. Research found that students who used HESI, an NCLEX exam and assessment solution, and also scored 900 or higher on the HESI Exit Exam with a 97% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN.
To prepare students for the next Next Generation NCLEX (NGN), nursing programs need to incorporate clinical judgment learning and assessment solutions into their curricula. For example, EdTech solutions such as clinical experience simulations in combination with NGN assessments offer an innovative way to prepare students. The immersive learning experience provided by digital simulations allows students to practice clinical reasoning and clinical judgment skills while treating diverse groups of patients they will eventually encounter in the real world.
2. Provide continuous professional development throughout the career path
Education does not end after graduation as a nurse. Instead, the industry must approach education as a continuous journey across the lifespan. Large-scale continuing education solutions can benefit nurses at every stage of their careers. Whether it’s a student just entering nursing school, new nurses making the transition to practice, or even the most seasoned nurses, continuing education provides tools and guidance to professional development and professional success.
As healthcare professionals continue to face information overload and more complex patient scenarios, these educational resources can provide nurses with the latest evidence-based information to improve patient safety and overall health outcomes. These solutions can also help improve time management efficiency by reducing the time practitioners spend on research, helping nurses manage higher workloads and deliver high quality patient care.
3. Invest in nursing education and advanced technological solutions
Advances in technology have transformed the delivery of nursing education. Academic institutions need to invest in new forms of technology that allow students to develop clinical reasoning skills while building their self-confidence. As mentioned earlier, simulation-based educational tools provide students with an immersive educational experience. Shadow health is an example of how programs can deliver digital clinical experiences at scale. This tool presents real patient scenarios, giving nursing students the opportunity to improve their decision-making skills and learn from their mistakes in a controlled and safe environment.
These types of EdTech solutions provide multiple benefits to students and teachers. As nursing schools continue to turn down qualified applicants due to lack of physical classroom space and clinical sites and insufficient numbers of educators, these advanced tools provide more capacity for higher education institutions. and allow students to develop their skills by engaging in realistic patient scenarios. . According to the American Association of Colleges and Nursing, more than 80,000 candidates were returned to four-year institutions because of these limitations.
In fact, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing found that numerical simulations were just as effective as physical clinical experiments, supporting the use of simulations to replace up to 50% traditional clinical hours without impact. By investing in innovative technologies, academic institutions are ensuring that nurses gain out-of-the-box experience to prepare them for a multitude of patient situations.
4. Provide access to mental health resources and support
It is widely recognized that the current COVID-19 pandemic has had serious repercussions on the mental health of nurses and healthcare professionals. According to a ICN survey, nearly 80% of national nursing associations have received reports from nurses of mental health problems. Likewise, a February 2021 to study by the American Association of Nurses (AAN) found that a year after the start of the pandemic, nurses continued to suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders related to work stress.
To help nurses maintain their mental well-being, hospitals and health systems have an obligation to provide nurses with support systems and resources. Hospital leaders need to listen to their nurses to truly understand what they are going through and what they need in terms of wellness support. From there, these leaders must design and implement policies and programs that best meet the mental health needs of their staff. These types of programs can help reduce stress burnout while improving workplace efficiency to encourage higher levels of retention.
Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry, and it’s time we make sure they’re ready to succeed throughout their career paths. These dedicated women and men have done so much for the company, and now is the time to provide them with the ongoing support and training they deserve.