What’s wrong with nursing?

No one becomes a nurse because they want to clean up code browns or sit in front of a computer checking off task boxes all day. AdvanceWeb posted this cool study about where nurses’ time goes:

Nurse Time breakdown

35% of the day is spent on documentation (as of 2013). In a 12-hour shift that’s 4 hours and 12 minutes. The sad bit is that the most likely only covers the most basic charting. If you want to document all your interventions (because if you didn’t chart it you didn’t do it), it would likely take closer to 50% of your time.

Idealized visions of nurses include spending time at the patients’ bedside, nurturing and promoting healing. Talking to patients and bonding. But that hardly ever happens these days. With a typical patient load of often 5-6 patients, and nurses doing much more than they used to (and tasks requiring more time to complete, plus the requirement to chart every. little. thing.) – it’s easy to see why bedside nurses are leaving the profession in droves.

New nurses want to get their minimum experience over with so they can move on to graduate degrees and become nurse practitioners. Experienced nurses are burned out, looking for ways to either retire or move on to an easier job with more regular hours in a doctor’s office or doing phone triage.

Hospitals require more of nurses than they ever have before, and our licenses are on the line. It creates a stressful situation that robs nurses of the motivation they had in the first place. Inefficient processes, poorly functioning equipment, unavailable equipment we have to track down… I remember spending 15 minutes one shift looking for a regular-sized blood pressure cuff. Isn’t that something that should be available easily, any time in a hospital? Simple things, people. There are processes in place that work against us and until hospitals figure out a way to bring nurses back to the heart of nursing, new and established nurses will continue the exodus away from the bedside.


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