Ethical issues pose challenges to everyday nursing practice and are considered a significant bioethics problem that has not been prioritized in the healthcare system. These problems are broad, frequent and intense in the nursing practice. The ethical issue of our interest is staffing inadequacies. The nursing practice is continually faced with a shortage of registered nurses. In addition, maintaining of the existing nurses in the healthcare system is also a challenge. This problem is profound and a burden in many healthcare systems. Nurses face difficulty with this problem and are left wondering about the moral integrity of the healthcare system where they work and their own as well (Roussel, L. (2011). This problem limits the confidence and capacity of nurses to work efficiently as moral agents. As a result of this, the healthcare systems suffer more so in the instance of a heath crisis (Veenema, 2007).
To begin with, this ethical problem has been attributed to various factors. First, there is low enrolment of students in nursing as compared to other careers. In return, this means an output of few nurses. Secondly, the aging factor of the nurses in the healthcare system. This has been an issue of great concern in health care system Studies have proved that majority of the nurse population is comprised of older nurses. The above issue of low enrolment has contributed to retention of old expert nurses. Furthermore, high turnovers of nurses also play part in worsening this problem. High turnover rates are more linked to young nurses as opposed to the older ones. The reason for high turnover is related to the working environment and payment. High workload combined with non proportional salary is the main factor attributed increased turnover rate in nurses.
Furthermore, there are potential solutions to this problem. To address the problem of low enrolment, recruitment is advised. More students should be recruited in the nursing career. Alongside recruiting more students in nursing, proper ways to incorporate the new nurses into nursing practice. Adequate mentoring and orientation is crucial in introducing new nurses. This helps them to accommodate the working environment. Next, retention of nurses should be encouraged. This mostly applies to the older nurses. As stated above older nurses are preferred to the younger ones due to the turnover issue. Additionally, it’s cheaper to update the skills of existing workers rather than employing new nurses equipped with latest technologies. This creates a barrier in recruiting of new nurses. The few recruited will be subjected to harsh working environment coupled with low wages and more workload hence triggering more turnovers.
On the contrary, output of old nurses is low compared to the young nurses. Studies have shown that older nurses’ over 45 years work 36 hours weekly from the 38 hours whereas those over 55 work for 32 hours. Therefore, the healthcare system needs to work environment by introducing better pay to the newly recruited nurses and compensations for the existing ones. This would help to eliminate migration of nurses in search of better work environment. On top of this, ethical training or education should be emphasized (Yeo, 2010). Healthcare systems need to equip nurses with proper knowledge to understand the care environment particularly the new recruits. This would help enhance their skills and confidence and thus ensure their survival in nursing practice (Yeo, 2010).
Roussel, L. (2013). Management and leadership for nurse administrators. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Veenema, T. G. (2007). Disaster nursing and emergency preparedness: For chemical, biological, and radiological terrorism and other hazards. New York: Springer Pub.
Yeo, M. T. (2010). Concepts and cases in nursing ethics. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press.
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