Nursing in the Future
Financial issues, healthcare policy changes, scarce resources, political issues and advancing technology on health care affect all areas of nursing, no matter how diverse the field is. In the practice of long term care and assisted living facilities, these issues are of major concern for many people. Trends that are seen in my current practice can help give hints to what is to come in the future.
It seems like many health care facilities are always short on money, and so the number of patients per nurse increases so that the facility can make more money by having less nursing staff.
When the work load increases on the nurses, there is a higher turn around for the nursing staff, and the facilities run into problems of being short staffed and overworked. In The Resilient Nurse, they explain that “rising patient acuity, rapid assessments and discharges, and increased service use by clients mean that nurses are dealing with sicker people who are likely to have multiple conditions that may complicate both the treatment and the recovery” (3-4).
A facility that is short staffed comes to the situation where there is more likely to be mistakes when the nurses are being asked to work more hours then they should to compensate. This happens in long term care consistently, it is as if more and more is asked of the staff in order to save a buck somewhere else. It is very hard on the residents as well due to the fact that they are at the end of their lives, can no longer work and usually have no money let. Long term care is very expensive and most of the time it completely wipes out the resident of all of their savings.
I think scarce resources and advancing technology can sometimes go hand in hand. Supplies run short and it puts patients at risk if the proper supplies are not being used. Residents run out of things they need, or the facility has to be stingy with how many gloves they use when the really issue is patient safety. It is helpful in long term care when the facilities develop committees that can the employees advocate for the residents. With the advancing technology through the years, more training on how to use new equipment is needed to ensure that the nurses are providing safe care.
In a lot of discipline the nurses that are in practice are getting near retirement, and changes for them are hard to implement because they can be stuck in their ways. Many times it is hard on the nurses when there are policy changes because they are used to doing things a certain way and changing policies has a way of keeping nurses on their toes. Changing policies makes it important for nurses to be up to date on new evidence based practices so that they are able to keep up with the advancing times while maintaining a safe environment for patients.
I like how Decision-Making in Nursing: Thoughtful Approaches for Practice sums up the idea that “without understanding nursing history, decisions are at risk of failing and repeating past errors” (26). Policy changes can be made for many reasons, but many times it is because it was found through evidence based practice that there was a safer and/or better way to go about the policy or that the policy no longer is relevant to the changing times. Times are changing and it has a major affect on long term care residents and nursing in general.
Traditionally nursing has been a female dominated profession, but there have been many more men joining the ranks. The time and age were many residents grew up in people were very modest, and the largest population in long term care facilities are women, so it can be hard for them to adjust to a male nurse talking care of them or seeing them in such a vulnerable state. I see the impact of financial issues, healthcare policy changes, scarce resources, political issues and advancing technology on health care all of the time.