Progress is an ongoing trend in the world of nursing. Advancements has been made as more nurses engage in managerial positions, advanced nursing practice as part of primary care setting and doctoral prepared nurses engaging in research. As evidenced-based practice become more as a basis for patient care, research can be a key to improving health across the lifespan. Yet, time and time again, nursing is still confronted with several key issues which can have the potential to impact nursing of today and of the future.
A key issue that comes to mind is the societal changes. Population shifts in America present challenges in the healthcare industry. Nursing has seen longer life expectancies with increasing number, severity, and duration of chronic illnesses. Such chronic illnesses which also originate from different socioeconomic levels demand specialized plan of care. Caring for patients are further dictated by managed care, government assistance, or merely lack of healthcare insurance.
With the surge of population that has severe chronic illnesses, the demand for more nurses is still in the forefront. As a result, nursing shortages impose a negative impact in patient care. Nurses are often thrown in a dangerous position of caring for high acuity patients at a higher nurse to patient ratio. This scenario is too rampant in all healthcare settings. Subsequently, new nurses who enter the profession experience early “burn out” and “baby boom” nurses leave the profession to retire.
As “baby boomers” and “burned-outs” leave the nursing profession, the rise of the “one call that’s all” generation is far too common. More nurses are being named in lawsuits and awards to plaintiffs are outrageous. The increase in lawsuits and awards to plaintiffs increases overall healthcare cost. At the same time, individuals who are looking at nursing as a career choice and nurses presently practicing second guesses the choices made.
While more challenges present itself in the nursing arena, the fight for the ultimate resolution remains to be yearned for. This yearning push nurses to search for solutions through critical thinking. Yet, if critical thinking is applied to the progress and challenges in nursing, a key assumption can be made, in yet another key area that needs contemplation. This is the lack of a common ground when it comes to the educational standards for entry level in nursing practice- Associate of Science in Nursing vs. Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. More debates, controversies, and arguments about this platform bring more agitation to an already high stress profession.
Searching for the common ground in the educational standards further divide nurses in various spectrums. At the same time, this also creates confusion for individuals who are thinking about entering the profession. How can the nursing profession support progress when even the entry level standards are not organized?
Nurses strive for outcomes that are measurable, specific, realistic, and indicate a timeframe for achievement. Realistic outcomes are possible once collaboration and readiness are identified. Time is of essence in resolving the issue, but, is time running out as the increasing complexity of patient care demand for highly qualified nurses.
Challenges dictate progress. Progress require sacrifice. If a common ground can finally give the nursing profession the unity it most aspire, are nurses prepared to sacrifice beliefs, value, and comfort level when it comes to the education issue? Is the profession ready to withstand progress as bigger responsibilities and higher standards becomes the theme of success?
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