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5 of the biggest issues nurses face today

Common signs of nursing burnout

Most nurses love their profession, but it has its share of challenges and issues that can lead to a decline in job satisfaction and even cause some to seek new careers.

The following are five of the biggest issues that nurses face today:


Nurses often experience burnout, which, according to Nursing.org, is caused by chronic overwork and an ongoing lack of job fulfillment and support. The job is inherently stressful, since nurses must deal with death and grieving patients on a regular basis. They often work long shifts and those who work in particularly high-stress areas, such as emergency rooms, may face an even higher risk of burnout.

And while burnout may seem like an issue mainly experienced nurses, today's nursing graduates are often unprepared for the toll that their everyday workload will take, Sara Horton-Deutsch, professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, told WalletHub.

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Workplace safety

Nurses face a number of workplace safety issues, according to Becker's Hospital Review. These include needlestick injuries and bloodborne pathogens.

Depending on the setting in which they work, nurses can also be subject to substantially higher rates of workplace violence injuries than many other professions. They're more likely to experience incidents of hitting, kicking and beating in inpatient facilities such as hospitals, but these injuries often go unreported. Bullying and harassment are also common, with 71 percent of nurses in a Medscape poll reporting being harassed by a patient with behaviors such as stalking.

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Nursing shortages

When you're looking for a job, a nursing shortage can help make you an even more desirable employee. But after you've landed the job, that shortage can lead to increased nurse-to-patient ratios, according to Rasmussen College. This can affect the quality of nurses' work life and even the quality of patient care. It also makes nurses more likely to leave the profession.

Moody's Investors Service says the current shortage is particularly pronounced in several southern and western states, including Georgia. That's because the state has a growing (and aging) population and comparatively low numbers of nurses entering the workforce.

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Increased workload

The nursing shortage has also contributed to an increased workload for nurses. In fact, 40 percent of nurses responding to an RNnetwork survey said they had less free time than two years ago as a result of their work.

The workload over the past two years had increased for 46 percent of respondents, and only 22 percent felt less burdened by their workload. And while many healthcare facilities set supporting work-life balance as a goal, 36 percent of nurses surveyed feel that their employers don't support this, and 27 percent feel ambivalent about their employers' efforts.

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Too much time devoted to paperwork and electronic health records

Nurses usually choose their career because it's challenging, interesting and makes a daily difference in their patients' lives. But nearly half of nurses responding to the RNnetwork survey said that they had considered leaving the profession.

About 15 percent say they spend too much time on paperwork, with the same percentage saying they don't get to spend enough time with patients. Entering data into electronic health records (EHRs) is also a reason to consider quitting the profession for 19 percent of respondents.

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