How Do Nurses Cope With Professional Challenges

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Nurses tackle overwhelming bouts of occupational stress and struggle with exhausting work schedules that undermine their wellbeing and quality of life. It’s natural for nurses to feel undervalued, underpaid, and unappreciated despite their mammoth contributions to patient care quality. The day-to-day nursing duties are riddled with challenges, and practitioners must overcome adversities with effective coping strategies. 

The ongoing healthcare staffing shortages and the rising population of retiring physicians have exacerbated nursing challenges. Skilled nurses have emerged at the forefront of primary healthcare, tackling rising patient demands with specialized clinical expertise. Nurse practitioners are often forced to work mandatory overtime to address staffing shortages and satisfy patient needs. 

However, working additional hours after a standard 12-hour shift runs the risk of fatigue-induced medical malpractice. Nursing challenges are diverse and wide-ranging and need pragmatic coping strategies to allow professionals to thrive. They also serve in states that have banned mandatory overtime encounter other challenges, such as workplace toxicity and lack of clinical involvement. 

Keep reading to learn more about everyday challenges, and nurses can cope with them effectively. 

Lack of Clinical Expertise or Advanced Training 

Nurses often find themselves restricted within entry-level positions due to a lack of advanced clinical expertise and training. Entry-level nursing roles deny clinical engagement, patient interactions, and healthy work schedules that support self-actualization and professional growth. Practitioners restricted within menial administrative and clinical roles struggle with demotivation and overwhelming occupational stress. 

Nursing professionals must work towards academic growth and higher education to advance their careers towards leadership roles. Balancing higher education with hectic nursing shifts can prove challenging, but the e-learning route offers flexibility and accessibility. 

Registered nurses can also pursue an online RN to BSN program to equip themselves with clinical training and pharmacological expertise. 

A BSN degree comes with an extensive academic workload promises clinical authority, financial stability, and flexible workloads. Practitioners choose online programs to learn and grow at their own pace, adjusting academic pursuits with their nursing shifts. You may encounter some challenges while balancing your professional and academic workloads. But focusing your eyes on the prize will help you set priorities to initiate and stay committed to your professional growth. 

Did you know that BSN nurses make an average income of over $70,000 annually and enjoy deeper involvement with patient care? It’s wise to remind yourself of the advantages and lucrative opportunities you can unlock by investing in higher education. BSN is only the first step towards nursing leadership, and professionals should continue advancing their careers with academic growth. 

An MSN degree will help you specialize in your chosen medical field, and a doctoral program will pave the road to leadership. Higher education is the answer to most nursing challenges by allowing professionals to rise through the ranks of healthcare practitioners. 

Healthcare Employers Abusing Mandatory Overtime 

Healthcare sector dynamics have transformed dramatically in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare facilities are fighting acute staffing shortages in rising patient demands and emergency-care needs. Employers abuse mandatory overtime requirements, forcing nurses to continue working beyond 12-hour shifts. 

Serving a 12-hour shift isn’t easy, as running around and standing on your feet all day results in overwhelming fatigue. Now, imagine working another 6-8-hours after ending your 12-hour shift. Mandatory overtime shifts induce overwhelming fatigue, making nurses likely to make glaring medical errors while attending to patients. 

An overworked and exhausted nurse can make errors while administering medications, recording vital signs, or observing patients’ post-treatment condition. Mandatory overtime risk the safety and wellbeing of nurses and their patients, and most states allow nurses to refuse extended shifts. Many states across the United States, including California, Illinois, and Minnesota, have banned mandatory overtime

However, healthcare employers can demand nurses to work more than 80 hours in a fortnight. Nurses must understand their legal rights and privileges to tackle outrageous overtime demands from their employers. Joining a nursing association is vital to gaining professional support from nursing leaders within your state or local community. 

Overwhelming Occupational Stress 

Nurses operate in highly stressful environments, combatting life and death emergencies with utmost diligence and precision. The pressure to maintain accuracy is enormous, and it heightens for nurses serving in surgical teams and ERs. Saving lives and averting life-threatening causalities comes at a massive cost for nurses, who must compromise their own wellbeing and safety. 

The ongoing pandemic is a fine example of how nurses must set aside their own safety and work in highly stressful conditions. Throughout the initial stages of the breakout, we witnessed our front-line fighters donning uncomfortable protective gear and risking their lives. The fear of contracting the virus and seeing their peers succumb to COVID-19 and die was unbelievably traumatic. 

Millions of healthcare practitioners and nurses worldwide lost their lives while treating COVID-19 patients. Nurses who had to continue working in social isolation and emotional trauma struggled with overwhelming occupational stress. Even if we assess nursing duties in a pre-pandemic world, occupational stress is a natural facet of healthcare environments. 

The pressure to ensure accuracy and prescribe the proper medication or treatment at the right time can take its toll. What makes the stress worse is the nurses’ inability to manage and cope with it effectively. Nurses hardly find enough time to enjoy nutritious meals, quality sleep, and spend time with their loved ones. Their hectic workloads don’t leave much time to prioritize self-care and regulate their wellbeing. 

Clinical growth comes with the promise of primary healthcare duties with flexible schedules and financial stability. Experts advise nurse practitioners to work towards clinical advancement by adding more qualifications under their belt. For instance, family nurse practitioners (FNPs) work directly with patients in standard 9-5 routines. Professionals with an MSN degree and extensive clinical experience can work towards opening a private practice. 

Final Thoughts 

Have you noticed how academic growth and professional development answer most nursing challenges? Nurses can overcome obstacles and create a rewarding career path by investing in higher education. Higher education allows nurses to identify and answer the spiritual calling of their profession. An MSN specialization is a goal that all practitioners must work towards to enjoy extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. 

Nursing is more than exhausting workloads, mandatory overtime, lack of clinical engagement, and belittling attitudes of senior practitioners. However, professionals must make tough choices and set priorities to balance academic and professional workloads. Focusing on clinical advancement and professional growth rewards will help you remain steadfast and committed.

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