Essay on Issues with Nursing
Compensation, Pensions, and other Benefit Issues Faced by Nurses
Nursing industry is large and ranges from patients and other institutions from businesses to government. There are several issues, especially financial, confronted by the nurses creating shortage of nurses and decreasing patient-nurse ratio. Moreover, the working conditions in which they work are not considered satisfactory contributing to the phenomenon of shortfall. These problems should be resolved by the private businesses and also at the governmental level that should include fixing funding/problem. Many nurses today are not able to benefit from the retirement benefit plans including bonus. Furthermore, several compensation issues are being confronted by the nurses that also impede the quality of work. Compared with other fields, the wage-rate of nurses is not competitive. The annual increase-rate of wages is also comparatively low for nurses. Reasons for low-wage rate include the current global recession being faced by most of the companies increasing cost of businesses. Compensation for nurses is a phenomenon contributing to the gravity of nursing shortage. Set of compensations for nurses include their salaries but also room, transportation, laundry etc. It means that compensation not only includes money but also different other tangible as well as intangible benefits. (Gatford 101) The low-wage rate, high stress in job, unattractive end-service benefits like pensions, and unsatisfactory working conditions are creating dissatisfaction among nurses. Pension schemes offered by the institutions focus on providing affordable as well as sustainable incomes to the people after retirement. It is pertinent to highlight that pension plans and different other health benefits offered by the institutions are not satisfactory and has become one of the major concerns for the nurses. Furthermore, the mobility of nurses from one organization to other also reduces the chances of getting considerable benefits from one employer. Therefore compensation issues along with retirement benefits such as pension are creating shortage of nurses, increasing high rate of turnover and mobility to other professions impacting quality and quantity of healthcare services. (Barnett 113)
Shortage of Nurses and Unsatisfactory Working Conditions
As discussed above, compensation, bonus, and different other benefit issues have become the major reasons for the shortfall of nurses affecting quality of healthcare. United States is facing an acute shortage of nurses and this problem is expected to increase in the future. Hospitals and other medical organizations term it as a huge staffing crisis faced by the industry. Besides reasons mentioned above, other significant reason for the shortage of nurses is inadequate working conditions. Health organizations are compromising the nurse-to-patient- ratio affecting quality. Therefore, nurses are entering other occupations as they do not consider job of nursing as feasible and are not financially attracted. Studies have shown the fact that hospitals and private clinics facing shortage of nurses have high rate of poor patient outcomes affecting quality of healthcare services and increased chances of different medical complications including cardiac arrest and pneumonia etc. Furthermore, a huge gap exists between qualified, trained, skilled nurses and the overall demand or available positions. Although, shortage of nurses is not a new phenomenon, yet the problem has increased significantly for the last few years. The aging workforce with most of the baby boomers reaching old age, increase in population, and increased demand for healthcare services are not matched with the number of nurses entering the occupation increasing the rate of shortage. Unsafe environment and dangerous working conditions have created a grave concern among nurses. Nurses normally work long hours yet receive less benefits compared to other professions creating a high level of dissatisfaction. Many nurses are reaching age of retirement while a huge number had already retired. With few nurses choosing it a career the gap between demand and supply is increasing. Several nurses are also leaving the profession due to lucrative jobs being offered in other professions as they also prefer working in pleasant working environment with low stress.
Possible Solutions to the Problems
The issues discussed above creating shortage of nurses and affecting quality of healthcare services can be addressed by providing temporary and long-term solutions. Level of compensation for the nurses should be improved that include high wage-rate and providing of different tangible as well as intangible benefits. End-service benefits including pension should be compatible with other professions. (Brooker 349)For this purpose a comprehensive compensation plan specifically for the nurses should be designed and implemented catering to the needs of nurses and increasing level of satisfaction. Nursing profession can become more attractive and competitive by providing different intangible benefits including granting loans payable in easy installments, giving scholarships, chalking out a career plan, and allowing grants for nursing faculty. Working conditions for the nurses should be improved. This could be done by strengthening human resource policies aiming at solving issues like working long-hours, and receive a sustained pension income after retirement. Level of stress should be reduced as in other professions to improve the quality of services being offered. A short-term solution to address the issue of shortage is pulling nurses from other countries. Nurses from the developing countries having surplus in the pool of nursing workforce can be attracted in the country. Nurses in the developing and poor nations prefer to migrate mainly due to fulfilling the economic needs. Although, overall wage-rate in nursing profession is comparatively low, yet it is still competitive and lucrative for the people in other parts of the world. Therefore, pulling nurses from other countries- although a short-term solution- can address the problem of nurse-shortage.
Barnett, Jeniffer Patient Problems: A Research Base for Nursing Care Medico Dental Media International, 2nd ed, 1997, p. 113
Brooker, Chris Foundations of Nursing Practice: Fundamentals of holistic care Mosby, 2007, p. 349
Gatford, John Nursing Calculations Churchill Livingstone, 2006, p. 101