“To be or not to be a nurse?” That is the question, many students perhaps would ask themselves when considering this career path. However, one should further investigate the nature of this field.
The nursing profession involves multiple levels of patient care that draw out the empathetic and medical skills of a nurse under stressful circumstances and limited resources (Khamisa, Oldenburg, Peltzer, Ilic, 2015). More specifically, nurses will be confronted with long work hours, blood, bodily fluids and their effects on his or olfactory/visual senses.
As well as and more prominently, patient death. Nurses will be dealing directly with patients, having to create medical plans and administer the appropriate treatment. Before, a person pursues nursing he or she should consider the factors outlined in this essay. The nursing profession entails an excess of tribulations and is not well suited for every individual.
Firstly, nurses will encounter strenuous physical demands on various body systems and experience reduced amount of sleep. Secondly, nurses will be forced to contend with a load of mental pressure caused by working with an exhaustive range of people. Thirdly, a nurse will struggle with a substantial workload that will ultimately lead to burn out.
The daily tasks required to be performed by nurses can be extremely taxing on his or her musculoskeletal system. One of those tasks is patient transportation. The nature of this responsibility calls for nurses to be able to lift patients and orientate them in ways where the nurse is at risk of strain.
Historically, up to 80% of nurses involved in this duty, experience lower back pain (Kay, Evan & Glass, 2013). In relation to that, nurses have the potential to develop musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs are injuries caused by a single incident or long-term, gradual damage (Kay et al., 2013). Nurses would be a prime candidate for this disorder since they work in the healthcare field. According to some studies reported by Kay et al., about 95.5 % of nurses face MSD’s over the duration of his or her career. Moreover, they must execute these tasks over extended durations of time.
This can be detrimental to the nurses’ health because it often leads to sleep deprivation which can also pose safety risks to the patient (Rogers, 2008). It is most likely the reason why the American nurses have a lengthier amount of time catching up on sleep on non-working days according to Rogers (2008). Efficient sleep is needed for the body to function properly. So, the lack of sleep discourages proper meta-cognition, cognition, forethought, and attentiveness (Rogers, 2008).
This circumstance, encourages errors and risks that may lead the nurse to unintentionally injuring a patient or themselves. Something of which may threaten his or her job retention. More concerning, is that the individuals experiencing sleep deprivation have no awareness of it (Rogers, 2008). In consideration of these factors, one should assess the physical risks involved before deciding to enter nursing.
Secondly, the social interaction involved in nursing, demands a great deal of mental pressure. Nurses will have to deal with a variety of patients under adverse circumstances. In effect, these patients can become uncooperative and threaten their caretakers. Cases where a nurse’s safety is at risk can be psychologically straining.
In fact, “Symptoms such as headaches, depression, decreased energy levels, and insomnia all negatively impact on the health of the nurse and the organization in the form of increased absenteeism and staff turnover, ultimately raising the perceived stress levels…” (Oliver, 2017, p. 2). Additionally, nurses are subject to much scrutiny by patients and their families. This would suggest that the individual contemplating nursing should be a person who is resilient and who can receive harsh criticism well.
In relation to that, nurses often find themselves underappreciated and opposed by his or her patients and/or coworkers. According to Oliver (2017), one of the key stressors is the difference in experience between nurses and their students. As a result, division and unhealthy hierarchies could be created among the nursing team.
These types of relationships are extremely stressful for the nurse. Him or her may struggle to perform the daily tasks and cooperate with others if he or she feels unequally treated. Thus, the psychological consequences found in this field may not be appropriate for every individual.
Finally, the substantial workload can lead nurses into overexertion. Due to the shortage and need for nursing staff, a nurse may find himself or herself working to accomplish double his or her assignments. This is the reason why Oliver (2017) highly recommends nursing educators to take initiative in caring for their students; lest they leave their studies and add to the nursing shortage. The lack of staff and general duties of a nurse contributes to the high burnout rate (Khamis et al., 2015).
According to a study performed by Khamisa et al. (2015), statistical evidence suggests staff shortage as one of the prominent factors related to depersonalization. Which is unfavourable because it negatively affects nursing job satisfaction and motivation, (Khamisa et al. 2015). This can discourage nurses to continue in his or her role and further add to the nursing shortage.
Moreover, it may be inconvenient for individuals with small bladders or who have chronic bladder problems. Due to limited time and large patient load, bathroom breaks are often not an option. The large amount of work needed to bring to fruition and the repercussions of it, should cause some reconsideration upon pursuing this career.