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Challenges Faced By Nurses


There are many difficult professions in the modern world. Aerospace engineers face some extreme challenges, as do theoretical physicists, criminal lawyers, and of course, sanitary management workers, who deal with some of the most unwanted elements of other people’s lives. However, one of the hardest professions is also one of the oldest. It is one that has only grown more challenging in its thousand-year history, and yet it is also one that is often overlooked or forgotten about entirely: nursing.

Nurses are the backbone of healthcare systems all over the world: they enact the medical plans that doctors make, communicate with patients and family, and other members of the team. They also provide twenty-four-hour care to individuals who need it, whether because of an illness, an injury, a chronic condition, or diverse physical requirements.

The work of nursing is famously rewarding, but it can also be extremely challenging. Here are some of the main challenges nurses face in the day to day and also over the course of their time in the profession.

1. Nurses Have To Remember Everything

The number of small tasks a nurse has to do in a day is astounding. Not only does each nurse need to remember the precise requirements for each of their hundreds of patients at each different point of the day, but they also need to remember them correctly. If you think it’s tough remembering your daily to-do list, imagine having the stakes be legitimately life or death!

In order to be good at their jobs, nurses also have to remember important details about each patient they work with. This includes allergies, preferences, existing conditions, etc.

2. Nurses Have To Make Tough Choices

No matter where a nurse is working – hospital, nursing home, or a university campus – they are faced with an incredible number of difficult decisions every day, hour, and minute. Whether it’s deciding whether to call in a doctor about a patient who is exhibiting unusual symptoms, or whether it’s how to make sure an at-risk freshman at college miles away from their home gets the best help for their developing mental health condition, the decisions nurses make every moment of the day make a massive difference to actual human lives.

Different types of nurses need to make different types of decisions, too. Specialist nurses need to make decisions about complex problems and diagnoses that are specific to their field. Elderly care nurses need to make incredibly meaningful choices regarding patients who are frail and often at the end of their lives, not only about the care of the patient themselves but also regarding their families. If a nurse should think about becoming a family nurse practitioner, he or she will have to make decisions that will impact public health in the entire community.

3. Nurses Have To Walk Fine Lines

Imagine you are a nurse. A patient is brought into your care who is 14 years old and who has been experiencing things that he does not want you to share with his mother. The mother, on the other hand, insists that you tell her what is going on with him. You want to respect the wishes of your patient, but you understand that the family situation is complex and that it might be difficult for him to get the treatment he needs without the consent and awareness of his mother. What do you do?

This is the type of fine line that nurses must walk every day. Being the link between patients, family and friends, doctors, and other members of the medical team means that nurses are forced to make a call on who to prioritize, who to protect, who to treat and when and how and why, all while respecting the feelings and needs of many others involved. The emotional weight of this is extremely challenging to bear on a long-term basis.

4. Nurses Seldom Have Set Hours

No matter what field of nursing a nurse is in, they will seldom have a normal 9-5 working day. In fact, it is more likely that they will work for four nights at a time between 9pm and 7am, then have four days off, and then spend the next seven days working between 8 and 4. Aside from being exhausting, this is difficult to keep track of and means that you can never be one hundred percent sure what your day (or night) will look like.

Even if a nurse does manage to find themselves working a more regular routine set of hours, they are likely to still be on call to answer questions via phone at odd hours and times depending on the needs of their patients. Of course, there is always the bombardment by friends, acquaintances, and strangers on the bus about every little itch, red bump, or sniffle. Once folks know you’re a nurse, you’ll never get a moment’s peace.

5. Nurses Are Subject to Extreme Emotional and Physical Strain

Nurses face an unbelievable amount of strain in their work. For a start, they are face to face with people who are scared, confused, in pain, ill, or otherwise vulnerable. That kind of high-stakes emotional work is not the sort of thing that leaves you when you leave the office. Nurses are also often subject to emotional abuse by patients, doctors, family members, etc.

However, it isn’t just the emotional abuse that makes life difficult for nurses. They are also under immense physical strain as a result of how they spend their days: in a busy hospital, for example, nurses spend long shifts walking from room to room, running up and down between floors of the building, and struggling to lift, support, or otherwise move around various patients. Nurses who work in neonatal care spend hours upon hours holding babies, which may sound cute, but can be extremely tiring on the arms. Many nurses do rehabilitation work for individuals who have had injuries, contorting their bodies into shapes that will support these patients while they painstakingly learn to walk again.

Being a nurse may be rewarding and critical to the functioning of society, but it is also extremely hard work! Make sure you thank a nurse the next time you are in need of care.

Content Provided By SpecialDocs Consultants – medical practice consulting
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