Healthcare is a unique service industry that depends on a large number of well- trained personnel. Healthcare managers need to maintain healthcare operations, and at the same time ensure that the organization grows in terms of delivering healthcare services. However, the increased shortage of nurses caused by registered nurses abandoning clinical nursing has left a big gap in healthcare management that needs to be addressed. It is therefore important that we scrutinize what is making registered nurses to abandon clinical nursing in order to come up with viable solutions.
Reasons behind registered nurses (RNs) abandoning clinical nursing
Research has indentified that most RNs abandon clinical nursing due to a number of reasons including exhaustion and fatigue, unfriendly workplaces, and emotional distress caused by patient care. Most RNs work in unfriendly workplaces whereby they are belittled through confrontations, succumb to gender abuse, and are sexually harassed through physical or verbal means by managers, co-workers and physicians. Upon reporting to the management, the cases are ‘being left alone or ignored as new RNs are being told to “toughen up” under the auspices of making them “better nurses” (MacKusick & Minick, 2010, p. 337). Most of them are also left to undertake duties below their capability in terms of manpower and expertise needed without any help or support from fellow nurses and the management.
Most RN’s also leave their jobs because of emotional distress resulting from absence of collaboration between the staff and physicians coupled with disrespect for family and patient wishes. For instance, there were ‘situations in which heroics were performed “just as learning instruments,” and families were asked to leave the room during procedures so they would not stop in-progress treatments that may have violated a patient’s wishes’(MacKusick & Minick, 2010, p.338). Unfriendly workplaces and emotional distress further result to exhaustion and fatigue. Most experience exhaustion caused by lack of working schedules and increased patient numbers that leave no time for the much needed rest.
Healthcare managers are the core determinant of whether a health facility operates properly or not. From the above, one can clearly note that there is poor management and leadership in the healthcare sector. It lacks a proper working environment where each person is valued and respected. There is also lack of teamwork, and professional standards are compromised. Employees need to be motivated and healthcare managers need to maneuver obstacles and make sure that the staff follows procedures set forth.
Nevertheless, healthcare management efficiency is enhanced through good leadership qualities such as dedication, integrity, humility, magnanimity, openness, assertiveness and fairness. The RNs need to be appreciated and motivated in order to eradicate the ‘boredom’ that they experience. Therefore, the healthcare manager should ensure that all procedures, including professional practice and treatment of fellow workers are followed. They should form strong collaborative teams and respond to the increased number of patients by hiring more human capital in order to enable nurses’ work on a scheduled basis. Healthcare institutions should lessen their RNs’ workload, and work cohesively to deliver quality patient care and avoid exhaustion and fatigue. As we have seen, the solution lies behind incorporating health care management best practices that will ensure that all problems being faced by the RN’s are eradicated.
MacKusick, C. I. & Minick, P. (2010) ‘Why Are Nurses Leaving? Findings from an Initial qualitative Study on Nursing Attrition’. MEDSURG Nursing. Vol. 19(6). 335-339