Throughout history, nurses have been on the frontlines, healing humanity, facing fatal situations such as war, poverty, and disease. Perhaps even more prevalent after this past year of healthcare crisis, nurses have offered their unwavering support and care for those who are ill.
Each year, May 6th to 12th is recognized as National Nurses Week to honor the special individuals who make up the heart of our healthcare system. In addition to recognition, it’s important to understand how nurses are shaping our healthcare system and changing the industry for the better.
Nurses and their important role in the healthcare system
It’s no secret nurses wear many hats in the healthcare community. Over the years, the traditional idea of what it means to be a nurse has developed and evolved into a culture or way of life.
According to Health Leaders Media, there are over 3.8 million registered nurses (RNs) across the nation, which is more than three times the number of physicians in the U.S. While nurses fall under the larger healthcare umbrella, they work independently of medicine and other disciplines with roles ranging from direct patient care and case management to establishing nursing practice standards, developing quality assurance procedures, and directing complex care systems.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) states nurses comprise the “largest component” of the healthcare workforce, are the primary providers of hospital patient care, and deliver most of the nation’s long-term care. As the core of healthcare, nurses advocate for patient health and wellbeing; listen, support, and connect patients to additional resources; ensure patient families are seen and heard; and advocate for healthcare policies in legislation in an effort to improve quality and delivery of services nationwide.
Challenges in nursing from the COVID-19 healthcare crisis
Amid the ample rewards of nursing inevitably come indescribable challenges. For more than a year, nurses have been under intense pressure as the number of coronavirus cases continue to steadily increase. Not only have nurses been working directly on the medical frontlines, they’ve also experienced long hours with limited access to personal protective equipment (PPE), and with evolving guidance on how to care for patients.
Leader of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Worldwide Chairmain, Pharmaceuticals, Jennifer Taubert said: “With COVID-19 patients isolated and without access to visitors, nurses have had to provide emotional support to patients and their families alike. In many cases, nurses have had the difficult task of helping families say goodbye to their loved ones by phone and video conference.”
Today, nurses are doing more than nursing. In addition to traditional patient care, nurses are playing important emotional roles to those coping with the aftermath of coronavirus.
Although travel nurses make up of the national nursing population, healthcare travelers also play a crucial part in the industry both at a medical and emotional level. Brody Eick, a travel nurse for more than six years, worked in California Riverside County Hospital at the beginning of 2020 when the emergency room started to fill up with what he thought was a “weird viral pneumonia,” Eick told The Washington Post.
Eick has traveled to different Southern California hospitals over the past year working in emergency rooms and intensive care units. “It’s been nonstop COVID,” Eick said.
“In the ICU, it has been really tough emotionally and mentally.” Eick describes holding an iPad to patients on a ventilator so their family could say goodbye. “I would promise that family that I would stand there and hold their hand so that they didn’t die alone,” he said. After losing a patient, he would run into another room to try to save someone’s life.
Research performed by the International Journal of Nursing Studies shows moderate evidence that “well-trained nurses can produce health outcomes equivalent to those of doctors for patients with a range of chronic health problems.” According to the study, it appears that nurse-led care may be more effective than medical care in promoting patient satisfaction. Further, Health Leaders Media reports a strong correlation among nursing excellence and patient loyalty, physician engagement, and clinical outcomes.
A nursing workforce in demand
Nursing has long been a workforce in high demand, and that holds true today.
Since 1998, the U.S. has been struggling with a persistent nursing shortage. Due to a significant percentage of the nursing workforce approaching retirement, an insufficient number of nursing school faculty members, and changing demographics, the shortage lived on.
The AACN said there are many efforts underway to address the nursing shortage in the U.S. including, but not limited to:
- Statewide initiatives to remedy the shortage of RNs and nurse educators.
- Nursing school partnerships with health care systems.
- Expansion of RN resources and educational programs.
- Multimedia initiatives to promote nursing workforce.
Without a pivotal change, the demand for qualified nurses will continue to grow. The American Nurses Association (ANA) estimates the job market to be overflowing with registered nurse job opportunities by 2022, at more than 100,000 per year. As more than 500,000 seasoned RNs retire by 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for 1.1 million new nurses to counterbalance the impact of the nursing shortage.
The rise of coronavirus throughout the U.S. amplified the need for frontline nurses in health clinics, hospitals, and other facilities. When nurses across the country were called upon for their diverse skillsets, not only did they answer, they put their expertise to use right away.
Nurses work hard for everyone, and Fusion Marketplace wants to make it easier for nurses to achieve their careers goals and faster for healthcare facilities to get the staff they need.
Fusion Marketplace is making it easier for travel nurses to find their next assignment
Nurses work hard at their jobs, so we’re making finding the ideal one much faster and easier.
Fusion Marketplace is a staffing recruitment platform where healthcare travelers are in control. Healthcare travelers now have more career, agency, recruiter, and lifestyle choices in one convenient location. Travel nurses can create an account and benefit from the streamlined capabilities of quick applications and full transparency offered throughout your job search.