Edited by Ayodele Nwosu
Published on August 17th, 2014
From the first nursing class I attended my freshman year, to the nursing instructors I was mentored by, I hear this phrase repeated continuously; nursing today is not what nursing was before. Indeed, nurses have evolved from wearing white dresses and stockings, to wearing scrubs and sneakers. Even now, the nursing profession continues to change, beyond the attire that is worn. Nursing today is beginning to be influenced by the business industries that run a hospital.
I remember sitting at a local coffee shop, interestingly enough, reading books on the true meaning of nursing care. Meanwhile, a bike rider asked to sit at my table due to the shady area. Kindly, I offered him to sit and introduced myself. We began to talk about which school I attend which led to the fact of attending a nursing program. Little did I know that the man across from me is a retired physician. I took his advice on certain matters, but one thing he said shocked me. He mentioned how he noticed a difference in nursing. As we elaborated on our discussion I soon returned to my assignment. When I got back home, I began my research in hopes of what the previous physician told me, was not true.
Truly, there has been a decrease in nursing staff on each unit in our local hospitals. From the information I received from current nurses, each registered nurse cares for approximately thirteen patients. The decrease in nursing staff has put a heavier load on the remaining nurses per unit. In one way, this works to a hospitals advantage of saving costs. However, this causes an increased risk of hazard for our patients. One of the obvious mistakes made are errors. These errors are found in drug distribution, proceeding orders on the wrong patient, and errors in recording data. I believe that the more stress nurse’s encounter, and the more responsibility they are obligated to carry, the more errors we will see.
This focus on efficiency creates a shift from viewing a person as a being to viewing the patient as just a body. The increase in responsibilities of a nurse creates a reduction of quality time spent with our patients. This quality time is important to patient care because this is the time in which we accurately observe our patients beyond the body. Is it when we are able to serve as caregivers for the hearts and souls of those to depend on us.
Recently, there has also been a shift in positions needed in hospitals. There has been a reduction of licensed practicing nurses hired in comparison to the hired amount of certified nursing assistants. As this chain begins to grow, nurses carry the responsibility of certified nurse’s working under their wing. Clearly, more stress is added on to the nursing profession.
In this essay, I have elaborated on a few changes in nursing. The probability of increased errors, reduction of quality time with patients and added stress to the nursing profession. However, I believe that none of this would be a problem with a simple solution; put a stop to reducing the amount of nurses per unit.