We are not taking care of nurses. Who will heal the healers?

I have to admit that I really do love reading KevinMD’s blog posts.  It is so refreshing to find a medical doctor who is willing to align with nurses against bad practices and does not go into automatic “blame the nurse” mode when there is a problem.

I understand that some nurses are more prepared and responsible than others, but the majority of the nurses out on all the floors in every hospital in the US are working their butts off and getting no help from anyone while they are struggling to help their patients get better.  It really has become a thankless job, but there are still nurses who see it as their calling and continue to do what they can despite these issues.

The title of this article says it all.  There is a growing nursing shortage now, but what happens if all the current working nurses become ill, or get burned out and there is no one to replace them?  Will you want to be hospitalized knowing there is not a licensed and trained person there to care for you?  Would you want your family to be?

Please read this great article and make up your own mind.  Remember, this article is written by a doctor who works with nurses to care for his patients.

We are not taking care of nurses. Who will heal the healers?

On the day that I penned this post, I rounded at our community hospital.   My first patient was in the step-down unit, which houses patients who are too ill for the regular hospital floor.   I spoke to the nurse in order to be briefed on my patient’s status.  I learned that this nurse was assigned six patients to care for — an absurd patient volume for a step-down unit.

“Why so many patients?” I asked.

She explained that some nurses called off work and the patients had to be spread around among the existing nurses.

This occurs every day in every hospital in the country.  Nurses are routinely required to care for more patients than they should because there is a nursing shortage on a particular day.  Why do hospital administrators allow this to happen?  If any are reading this post, I invite your response.  Enlighten us.  When a nurse is overburdened, how do you think this affects quality of care and nursing morale?

I suppose it saves a few bucks on the payroll, but this strikes me as very short term gain that risks medical and financial consequences.   Providing high-quality medical care can’t be a rushed effort.  If a nurse’s job description increases by 30 percent, do you think the quality of care and patient/family satisfaction won’t decline? (read the rest of the article here)

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