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A New Approach To The Nursing Crisis

2 MIN READ

The Nursing Crisis is an acute-on-chronic problem. While the pandemic has exacerbated the situation, it is far from a recent phenomenon. Solutions offered tend to revolve around money and finding more staff. Neither alone will improve the staff retention required for a long-term workforce fix.

This article discusses why the current solutions aren't enough and offers a new direction for innovative healthcare organisations.

Innovative Healthcare organisations take a people-first approach. Learn more about chnnl here.

A Decades-Long Crisis

The word crisis embodies a sense of urgency that belies how long this issue has been present. News articles from 20 years ago lament the same problems and offer the same solutions. Surprisingly, Google Trends reveals the pandemic had very little impact on searches for "nursing crisis" in Australia.

While the fact the nursing workforce is at breaking point is self-evident, the way forward is less obvious. If the same old solutions haven't worked for 20 years, why should we expect these to work now?

Nurses Are Intrinsically Motivated

No one ever became a nurse for the money. While the salary should adequately compensate staff as educated, hard-working professionals, it is the intrinsic motivators that bring people to nursing. To care, to make a difference, to heal - these are the reasons why people become nurses.

When a nurse feels unable to achieve these intrinsic goals, there is no amount of money that can compensate for this.  

More Bodies for the Meat-Grinder

A frequently cited solution to the crisis involves training more nurses and bringing in additional qualified staff from overseas. However, this misses two fundamental questions:

Why do so many young people with intentions of helping the vulnerable, who commit to years of study, leave profession so rapidly after joining it?

What is it about being a nurse here that has become so unappealing none of us want the role, forcing us to poach staff from other countries?

We keep throwing more fresh blood into the workforce while it's still riddled with gaping, haemorrhaging wounds. Then we wonder why we're not making any progress.

A New Approach

Innovative healthcare leaders realise the futility in trying the same thing repeatedly and expecting different outcomes. They are seeking new tools to meaningfully engage with their frontline staff. Many are using chnnl for an evidence-based approach to assessing organisational wellbeing and identifying psychological risks.

Re-establishing trust through communication and engagement with the frontline enables organisations to work on the structural issues underpinning the workforce crisis. It is the sort of meaningful change that is required if we are to avoid still discussing the Nursing Crisis in another 20 years.

To find out about how chnnl can enable your healthcare organisation to save the nursing workforce, please get in touch.

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Written by Dr. Alastair Dunne
blog - A New Approach To The Nursing Crisis
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