For years, the combination of overworked staff and understaffed hospitals has plagued the medical industry across the country. The demand for medical care is simply higher than the number of workers available, which causes immeasurable problems for staff and patients alike.
But has this trend started to ease at all in recent times? Or are the problems bigger and more prominent now than ever before?
What is nurse fatigue?
The NSO discusses nurse fatigue and the patient safety issues that stem from it. Nurse fatigue often happens when a nurse ends up overworked because the hospital or medical facility they staff does not have enough personnel. Thus, one nurse ends up taking on the shifts that two, three or even more nurses should have handled. Some nurses end up working 12-hour shifts and only taking a brief nap in the break room before returning for another shift. Others work 8-hour shifts back to back, going days without having any proper time off.
Worsening struggles in recent years
And unfortunately, many studies indicate that the problem has worsened in recent years rather than getting any better. Staffing shortages continue, with more nurses and other medical personnel leaving the industry, especially with recent turmoil. This leaves the burden of care on those who remain. On top of that, fewer people have entered the industry in recent years as well, marking a potentially problematic decline in new employees for employers to hire.
Of course, it is important now to question what changes can happen to facilitate an increase in nursing staff and a decrease in nurse exhaustion. This is the only way to help offset the troubles that overburdened nurses bring.