Nursing professionals play a vital role in promoting health, care and advocating for patients. Professional nurses act as global leaders due to their interest in advocating for the health of all society members as they engage to address the disparities in health and care. To affect change, nurses will need to pick up the mantle, and lead by engaging and voicing concerns. This requires participation in the many areas of policy making and providing leadership roles in global health organizations that lead to change.
Through engagement in policymaking, nurses can promote global health strategies that positively impact patient outcomes. Specifically, these experts propose policies that can protect people against various medical concerns, such as diabetes, heart disease and the COVID-19 pandemic, which all negatively impacted communities today. Nurses must be motivated to come up with effective policies and only then will we see change achieved, thereby ensuring that the professionals are given leadership roles in global organizations, such as World Health Organization (WHO). This factor ensures that global firms expand investment in nursing, which will ensure the rights of these professionals are observed as they work tirelessly to shape the way organizations around the world deal with health concerns.
Governments can invest in nursing in two ways. Firstly, nursing education should be provided at an affordable cost to ensure that more students are motivated to advance their knowledge and skills in nursing (World Health Organization, 2020). Through nursing education, students gain relevant experience that can improve their ability to tackle various medical concerns, such as coronavirus. Secondly, investment in nursing can be achieved by providing adequate resources. This factor motivates nurses to provide high-quality services that can promote public health and give them the desire to remain in the workforce to care for the growing population of patients.
As we have seen in recent years, chronic workplace stress is associated with burnout, which can negatively affect the overall performance of healthcare professionals. Stress can be caused by various factors, including feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion resulting from heavy patient overloads. This issue forces healthcare professionals to provide services to many patients often to the detriment of their own mental health considerations in the workplace. Likewise, stress can be caused by increased mental distance from one’s job. This factor results in the development of negative feelings that affects the overall productivity of a healthcare professional.
At all costs, clinician burnout should be avoided through proper intervention due to its consequences for both the nurse and the patients they care for. For instance, medical professionals affected by clinical burnout can provide medical services of a lower quality, when they are unable to receive the correct support. This support includes access to mental health professionals to address any concerns for their safety, especially in these critical times of the pandemic. This occurrence affects the recovery of patients and additionally can be associated with poor healthcare services that can lead to medical complications that risk patients’ health.
Clinician burnout is also associated with decreased work productivity and exhaustion. This factor forces the healthcare organization to hire more staff, which can impact its financial status. Thus, clinical burnout should be prevented to protect patients’ safety and the performance of the healthcare firm. Additionally, we must create a safe place for nurses to be vulnerable about their needs. Organizations must take on a more strategic and proactive plan that offers meaningful and practical applications to address stress and enhance clinician wellbeing.
I would challenge everyone to congratulate nurses on maintaining the course and continuing to add value to patients and their health. The road they travel every day is not an easy one and it requires a heart of compassion and empathy – but mainly resilience. Nurses need to be resilient because they deal with pain, suffering and sometimes heartache on a regular basis. This has not been more relevant than during the pandemic, when during those moments that nurses showed their biggest impact on patients and the families’ loved ones.
It is my hope that during Nurses Week – and every day – many will see the impact of this profession and know that we stand 'Rooted in Strength’ for the work that is before us – to always positively impact patients’ health and outcomes for generations to come.
Happy International Nurses week!
Melnyk, B. M. (2020). Burnout, depression and suicide in nurses/clinicians and learners: An urgent call for action to enhance professional well-being and healthcare safety. Worldviews on evidence-based nursing, 17(1), 2-5.
World Health Organization. (2020). State of the world’s nursing 2020: investing in education, jobs, and leadership.