It's no secret that a nursing shortage has existed for years, and unfortunately, it's expected to last until 2030, particularly in the West and the South.
While this may be good news if you're looking for a nursing job, it's probably anything but helpful once you've actually been hired. A nursing shortage can translate to extra shifts, more work and more patients to care for.
So how can you prepare yourself if you accept a job and then find that a shortage exists at your hospital or healthcare facility? The following are some recommended tips to help you weather this type of shortage as best as possible:
Watch out for the warning signs of burnout.
As you work extra hours or care for more patients, you may be a candidate for burnout. Be familiar with its symptoms, which can include irritability, exhaustion and a "checked out" mentality, according to nursing.org. Once you realize you're feeling burned out, deal with your symptoms as quickly as possible. Strategies can include taking advantage of employee assistance programs or managing stress through exercise.
Adapt your behavior outside of work.
Nursing.org recommended keeping your professional and home life separate and leaving work stress behind as much as possible when you get home. Enjoy hobbies at home, spend time with friends, take a walk, practice meditation or take other steps to help you relax when you're off the clock.
Learn from other nurses.
Programs can help bring experienced nurses together with their younger counterparts, Lippincott Solutions said. Veteran nurses can help less experienced nurses navigate issues and provide the best possible level of patient care. They can often suggest the most effective, efficient ways of doing things that will save time and effort while still ensuring a high level of patient care. Experienced nurses are accustomed to handling shortages and other issues and adapting to the situation as much as possible.
Lean on your family.
If you're working extra hours, rely on the support of your family when you can. Monster.com talked to nurses who manage the challenge of long shifts, and one mentioned how her spouse helps care for their children when her shifts are especially long. She also chose evening and night shifts during the summer so she could spend time with her family during the day.
Get a second opinion.
When you're tired and overworked, it's easier to make a mistake. Monster.com spoke to another nurse who said that when she works a day shift following a night shift, she tries to be more diligent and asks another nurse to verify medications, if possible.
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