Posted on March 30th, 2021
For a year, things have changed forever for experienced nurses and new nurses. The ones in nursing schools have lost precious clinical hours whilst the ones at the bedside continue to go through the emotional, psychological, and physical effects of treating patients during the pandemic.
Being a new nurse has always been challenging and stressful. However, presently stress and challenges have increased hundredfold due to technology, pandemic, and always-changing environment in the hospitals.
A well-observed study on new nurses and nurse students found out that the present-day new nurses face the below 4 struggles.
Identical to the previous nurses and experienced nurses, the present generation nurses also need and expect the same training and education. Regrettably, this is not taking place. Covid-19 has led to a high scarcity of nurses, particularly critical care nurses, thereby pressing hospitals to force new nurses through quick training than in past years. Usually, new general nurses go through 3 to 4 months of training for routine medical & surgical treatment procedures and, critical care nurses go through 6 to 8 months of progressive orientation.
Hospital and unit training are essential for all new to practice nurses. Nurses coming straight from school do not possess the expected skills to treat the patients individually, especially complicated ones. Broad orientations are required to make sure they attain these skills. In fact, even before Covid-19, hospitals always searched for ways to decrease the training as this increased costs. And, with the pandemic, this tendency has increased multiple times.
As the pandemic continues, hospitals are obligated to cut down costs besides pushing the new nurses on to the hospital floors quickly. The dearth of patients, postponement of surgical processes, and the reduction in federal funding have all further pushed hospitals to lessen extra spending amongst which, the reduced training is one. Across the USA, nurse orientation was one of the programs that saw a sharp reduction in quality and quantity.
All this does not mean that the new nurses are not getting orientation. They are getting, but it is only minimal. All these situations are only pushing new nurses to do their jobs with fewer abilities and confidence.
Hospitals are asking for nursing programs to take up the burden of bedside training once again. Nevertheless, this is impossible. If a pupil wants to become an oncology nurse - there is no clinical rotation during a conventional nursing program directly associated with oncology. At the most, nursing programs can teach students the fundamentals of patient care but not in and out of every disease treatment procedure.
Nursing programs before the 1960s and 1970s were commonly hospital-based programs or associate degree programs. Students who did clinical routines at a hospital would most probably take employment in the same hospital after graduation. The nursing programs in the past were capable of orienting students to the hospitals and units as full training was provided there. However, as nursing degrees shifted to customary 4-year courses at the major universities, programs started aligning with a range of healthcare institutions.
Another concern about the significance of unit-based learning is the present group of nursing students and new nurses do not all possess equivalent clinical experience and studies. State boards of nursing must set aside a certain number of in-person clinical hours a student must get to graduate. Nursing programs are needed to meet up this minimum necessary to keep up funding and accreditation. Since nursing clinics were obligated to move online at the beginning of the epidemic, each nursing school conducted the clinical hours totally differently. States offered lenience on the total in-person needed hours and the total virtual hours required. Some programs bought collaborative virtual simulation while others had to route to case studies and advancing simulations through Zoom. This change placed many new to practice nurses at an extreme disadvantage.
Surprisingly, new nurses are also the ones who should propagate and advocate high-quality training. Apart from facing the tough challenges due to less orientation, they are even efforting for better overall training. They say they also need the same rigorous training.
These troubles that nurses are facing now may subdue as the pandemic subsides but, their efforts and strains in serving the patients will never decrease for which they are.
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