The political and economic environment seems to greatly affect the nursing practice. There are several domains of nursing that can be influenced by changes in those spheres, namely: interprofessional healthcare, nursing management, and interpersonal relationships. Identifying how these areas can be affected by changes in the political and economic landscapes may help better prepare for them.
Working as a team with other healthcare professionals usually inspires professional growth and accumulation of knowledge. Political changes could undo the positive features of such interconnection. For instance, politically-motivated changes in nursing policies that restrict specific gender of a race from independent professional decision-making or banning them from practice in specific areas severely affected the process of interprofessional exchange in 1945. Such state of affairs hindered inter-professional learning as black nurse specialists’ opinion was often disregarded (Threat, 2012). A female nurse giving advice to a practitioner was also long considered out of the ordinary. Now, thanks to the restoration of race and gender equality the process of professional exchange can be binary.
A bad economy could also affect the sphere of interprofessional healthcare. The decrease in the rates of pay may diminish the attractiveness of certain professions, which can lead to fewer skilled specialists who could collaborate with others to provide care. It especially concerns nurses, as their rates of pay are not that high.
Bad economy, race or gender issues can also cause problems to the management domain of the nursing occupation. Recruiting nurse managers based on their biology can seriously undermine the quality of care. The unstable economy could lead to a reduction of staff. As nurse managers usually handle teams, a decrease in the number of team members could question the necessity of the team leader from the perspective of cost-saving. On the other hand, a stable economy could provide a demand for such specialists and inspire further development in the sphere of nursing management.
Relationships between colleagues are one of the most multifaceted spheres of any occupation. In nursing, the code of ethics advises staying strictly professional in interaction with colleagues. However, economic or political reasons could create bias, lack of confidence or understanding among medical staff. For instance, due to the lower rates of pay, nursing was historically considered a female profession. Due to that notion, there are strong gender stereotypes among patients, colleagues, and friends towards male nurses, which affect their desire to stay in the profession (Rajacich, Kane, Williston, & Cameron, 2013). Political approval and support for nursing on a higher level together with fighting stereotypes could change the situation for the better creating equal opportunities for all. Economically, the situation could also be addressed if the rates of pay are increased, and professional growth opportunities strengthened.
All things considered, nursing as any other profession could be influenced by the political and economic situation. It is vividly illustrated in the spheres of interprofessional healthcare, nursing management, and interpersonal relationships. Salary, career opportunities, racial and gender stereotypes together with political oppression or negligence could disrupt adequate professional conduct in nursing and negatively affect the quality of healthcare. Likewise, stable economic and political support for the nursing profession could boost productivity and address current problems in the mentioned domains. Therefore, the government needs to be aware of the effect that changes can produce and decide on making them have the professional sphere in mind. Nurses, in turn, need to eliminate bias and fight stereotypes regardless of the political and economic situation together with advocating for adequate financial rewards.
Rajacich, D., Kane, D., Williston, C., & Cameron, S. (2013). If they do call you a nurse, it is always a “male nurse”: Experiences of men in the nursing profession. Nursing Forum, 48(1), 71-80.
Threat, C. J. (2012). ‘The hands that might save them’: Gender, Race and the politics of nursing in the United States during the Second World War. Gender & History, 24(2), 456-474.