The purpose of this study is to show that there are many reasons why nurses leave their profession, but that financial reasons often rank very high on their list of concerns. Managed care issues and job dissatisfaction also play large roles in the minds of nurses when they decide to seek employment elsewhere. A review of current and pertinent literature indicates that most nurses are leaving because they are unhappy with pay and working conditions. These same reasons are cited by many of those who have considered being nurses and then changed their minds.
An analysis of the relevant data indicates that this trend is continuing and that nurses are much more put upon and underpaid than they used to be. This is not because they are being paid less, but because their salaries have not risen through the years like the salaries of other professions, and because nurses today are typically asked to do much more than they were even 10 or 20 years ago.
The study offers some recommendations as to how nursing can be improved and what can be done to entice more people to come into this field, so that the shortage of nurses in the United States can be lessened and eventually obliterated.
TOC CHAPTER 1
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Importance of the Study
Scope of the Study
Rationale of the Study
Definition of Terms
Overview of the Study
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Attracting New Nurses
Changes in the Profession
What Causes Dissatisfaction
How Nursing Can Change
The Importance of Statistics
Data Gathering Method
Database of Study
Validity of Data
Originality and Limitation of Data
SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
Statement of the Problem
For many years, nurses have taken on more than they were actually trained for. Some of this was caused by interest in others and the desire to help them. Unfortunately, some of it was also caused by the lack of funding that these nurses receive. Nurses often have to do more because hospitals are short-staffed and short-handed.
This is detrimental to the patients, but also to the doctors and nurses involved, because many of them are overworked and underpaid for the amount of care that they give on a daily basis. Providing hospitals with more funding for nurses would improve morale and assure that the patients are getting the best care possible. This care would come from trained and competent staff that are not upset, unhappy, sleep-deprived, depressed, or any of the other things that can go along with the strains that can come of working too long of hours for too little money over a long period of time.
Hospitals continue to fight rising costs from malpractice insurance, doctors' salaries, and insurance companies that do not want to cover certain procedures or pay on time. Due to this, hospitals are left with little money to pay the people that deserve it the most. Because of the underfunding, many would-be nurses are turning to professions with better pay and shorter hours, even though they might really want to help people. There are other ways than nursing to assist people in their daily lives, and many people are finding these other routes to assure that they will not be overworked and that they will be paid according to what they are worth, not according to how much the hospital can afford.
Hospitals that pay their nurses a better salary, and make sure that they have enough nurses so as to keep them from working long hours every day, tend to keep the nurses that they have and draw in new applicants for the job as well. The problem is one of finances, but there are potential ways to remedy some of the problem, if not all of it. This will ensure that the future holds enough caring individuals who will choose the rewarding profession of nursing and not turn away from it because they cannot make a living on what it pays, or cannot work the hours that it demands.
The hospitals are there to help people, and this cannot be done without enough of a staff to take care of the needs of the community. Hospitals that are understaffed make mistakes and set themselves up for malpractice claims and lawsuits. Both of these can be largely avoided by having adequate and properly trained staff, and these problems cost much more than the extra money that would be necessary to train and hire more nurses, or raise the salaries of the current nurses.
Through study and observation it can be seen that the current nursing shortage is reaching proportions that are causing harm to society. Patients are not having their needs met, and there is little time for any kind of interaction between hospital patients and nurses that does not involve the most basic necessities of the nurse's job and the minimal requirements of the patient. For example, the nurse may bring the medication on time and administer it, but there is little chance that she will remain for a few minutes just to talk with the patient or see if there are other needs that need to be met.
This problem is frustrating for nurses and upsetting for patients, who are often made to feel like they are nothing but a burden to the nurses who take care of them. Mental attitude plays a large role in how well the body recovers from sickness and injury, and feeling depressed and unwanted does not contribute to healing. The nurses themselves also deal with these feelings, as there are so many demands put on their time that there are not enough hours in the day or in their shifts to make sure that every patient has what he needs. This can cause both emotional and physical problems brought on by stress. Because of these concerns, many nurses are leaving the profession which is only contributing to the problem. The lack of well-trained nurses puts a larger burden on the nurses that remain behind, and in time many of these nurses will leave as well (Mee & Robinson, 2003). This only compounds the growing problem, because there are not enough new nurses coming into the profession to make up for all of the experienced and dedicated nurses that are leaving and taking their years of knowledge and experience with them. These concerns and issues lead to the following problem statement that will be the focus of the study:
If nurses were paid more, treated better, and not asked to do so much with the time that they have, they would be more productive, actually get more work done, and not leave the profession at such an alarming rate (Aiken, 2001). New nurses would also join the profession because they would see that the current problems had been corrected and they could do the work that they loved and still enjoy the rest of their life to the fullest extent possible (Beu, 2002).
Purpose of the Study
The purpose behind this current study is to show how the underfunding of hospitals can cause so much harm to the community as well as the staff. There are many ways that a community is affected by what goes on at the hospitals within it, and there are also several reasons why the lack of funding and shortage of nurses has become so prevalent. Without knowledge of these reasons, there is no hope of finding a solution to the growing problem. This study will show the reasons for the lack of funding, and the reasons for the nursing shortage as well, both of which are tied together in many ways, but still are very different entities. There are reasons other than financial that is causing the current nursing shortage, and there are specific reasons why hospitals seem to be losing money and therefore losing out on quality people that could be very worthwhile to the community.
In addition to the above important topics, the study also has another purpose. This is to show that there are ways in which the problems that hospitals and nurses are facing today could be remedied. Just explaining the reasons for the problems often is not enough to facilitate a solution, and this study will go deeper than that, in an attempt to indicate what might be done to correct much of the difficulties that are currently being faced in the medical field. These include such issues as managed care, financing, and education.
The education of nurses is still conducted at many schools, but there are problems with this. Even though a textbook education is important, and much of what these nurses learn is very valuable, many of them are missing out on the other part of their education - the practical part that they would have learned from the well-established nurses on the job. This is education…