South Florida Hospital News
Wednesday October 22, 2014
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May 2013 - Volume 9 - Issue 11

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Nursing Trends and Challenges Prominent for Today's Nurses

Nurses are the front-line of health professionals, the ones who watch over a patient’s physical health during a hospital stay as well as their day-to-day emotional well-being. While it is a unique profession, nursing, like others, is feeling the impact of never-ending enhancements in technology, federal government regulations and an evolving workforce.
 
Here are a few trends and challenges that are prominent for today’s nurses.
 
Advances in technology promise to streamline test results and patient documentation, reduce errors and bring more reliable and thorough information to doctors and nurses in a timely fashion. However, the emergence of new technology presents the challenge of a rather steep learning curve for many.
 
Nurses are required to learn new systems and new ways to document updates and changes to patients’ charts and histories. Nurses and physicians have to work together to master these new technologies in a timely fashion to stay current with federal guidelines.
 
Patient perception of technology, information security and safety is also a challenge in this new era. Many, primarily the older generation, are not used to seeing nurses document conditions and other information on computers and often misconstrue what they are attempting to do and who may have access to it. As nurses and physicians become even more fluent in technology, it must remain a priority for healthcare workers to communicate with patients and ease any concerns they may have.
 
Within the last year, healthcare reform has brought changes to patient care and health insurance, which has created changes in the day-to-day workload of both nurses and physicians. The governmental regulation requirements for patient documentation make hospitals more accountable for thorough patient information and while these changes have increased the workload on nurses, it is for good reason and increases patient’s quality of care.
 
Many of the ‘baby boomer’ generation came into the nursing profession and have served admirably for years. Now that they are getting older, the amount of experienced nurses at area hospitals is becoming limited. With new graduates outnumbering the experienced nurses needed to train them, developing the next phase of nurses becomes more challenging.
 
With such a wide array of experience among today’s nurses, there are bound to be advantages and obstacles. Nursing staffs are currently comprised of veteran nurses, those who have been in the field for approximately 10 years and recent graduates.
 
Generally speaking, nurses who have been at one hospital for 20 years or more years tend to be more focused on the hospital and the enhancement of its services to the community. The second group, with anywhere from 5-15 years of experience, understands that careers and reputations take time and typically stay in one place for three to five years. They come in with a drive to learn and grow in their professions. Currently, recent nursing school graduates come on board with a lot of experience with emerging technologies and have an easier time adapting to new digital protocols. The younger set of nurses tends to look for quicker advancement and opportunities.
 
Three generations of caregivers leads to a need for more innovation in nursing management and a lot of team building, but in the end, anyone who chooses our profession is doing so to help others. And that is something that we all have in common.
 
 
Bettiann Ruditz, CNO, Broward Health North, can be reached at bruditz@browardhealth.org or (954) 786-6924.
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