In the historical years of Florence Nightingale, nursing care, funds and supplies were outnumbered by the number of men needing them. This situation has been repeating itself in the present day, particularly in the decreased number of trained nurses who are working at the bedside. These challenges in the nursing and nurse informatics field contribute to the increasing level of stress and burnout among the nursing professionals which in turn influence the attrition rate and raise other organizational problems.
Aside from these factors, there are other notable factors which contribute to the overall stress that the work environment imposes on its healthcare workers.
The age range of the nurses working in the same unit was observed to be wide, from the young fresh graduates until up to four generations before them. The intergenerational conflict among the workers often affects the way they do their duties. Furthermore, these existing discrepancies in the environment do not encourage the current generation to pursue their careers in the nursing field thereby exacerbating the staff shortage.
Conflict of Interests
The employees of today often seek self-gratification over the compensation they receive from work. This would discourage them from working long hours and double shifts as they prefer to spend more time for themselves. They would want to balance their tasks between work and home, not to be compelled to choose between the two.
Values Difference among the Employees
Through researches in nursing informatics, it is known that the employees of today seek to have more personal time than work for more hours. As their numbers increase, so is the number of the more driven employees who carry the burden of the excess hours, travelling and relocation.
It is also observed that the current generation of workers has a different view of the workplace compared to how their elderly colleagues have. They are observed to prefer autonomy rather than bureaucracy. They often get attached to their work and value it, but they lack the same affection to their employers. This generation of nurses who are in their 20s and 30s want to do their work in their own preferred time. Thus they prefer jobs with temporary positions and freelancing.
These are just a few among the different biopsychosocial factors which may contribute to the stressors that the working environment may impose on the healthcare worker. If these stressors are not managed properly, then burnout both in the personal and professional aspect may result.
Burnout in the nursing profession may lead to different consequences. Nurses may experience lack of focus and concentration, decreased empathy on patients, poor decision making, and sluggishness among others. They are also observed to be anxious which significantly affects their job performance, in turn putting the lives of their patients in jeopardy.
The resulting decline in the performance of the nursing staff often leads to absenteeism and attrition. This in turn leads to administrative and staffing problems which eventually lead to imposing additional hours to the workforce, then repeating the stress cycle. These are also factors which may lead to unionization causing additional costs to the institution.
Although there are currently several interventions which aim to enhance stress management among nurses to avoid burnout, it is hardly unlikely that the stress levels in the work environment will decrease significantly in the following years. What is important now therefore is the recognition and validation of the efforts done by the nurse executives to handle this problem. With continuing to approach the issue through small and reasonable steps, it is not long until changes would be seen in nursing units as they begin to successfully self-manage their work related stress and be able to focus on the development of their skills and knowledge in the nursing field.