7 Challenges For Nurses In Aged Care : Nursing is a prestigious profession and one which people from all walks of life hold in high regard. Although the healthcare sector has expanded by leaps and bounds in the past decade, and many subfields have emerged, nurses still hold their significance.
The healthcare industry cannot survive without them. They work alongside doctors and assist them in providing treatment. On the other hand, they care for patients, listen to their stories, and lend their shoulders if they need to cry. They do more than provide care to the patients. The world observes that nurses continue to work as frontline soldiers when humanity deals with the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic.
Nurses are generally overworked, yet you will hardly find a nurse with a sour expression. They are the kind-hearted people who give their heart and soul to their profession and ensures to deal with patients with a smile on their faces. Nurses may always approach patients with a cheerful expression, but that does not mean that nurses lead a carefree and stress-free life. On the contrary, the nursing sector is challenging, and nurses who serve in aged care face numerous difficulties in their everyday lives.
Below we are listing some of the challenges that the nurses face in aged care:
Deal with the Mood Swings
Older adults often also suffer from mental health issues. If they are sick and bedridden, they give their caretakers a hard time. Sometimes they blatantly refuse to take medicines and do not give in no matter what the nurses say. Dealing with the mood swings can be overwhelming for nurses, as, at times, injecting one dose of medicine takes every ounce of their strength. Nurses who serve in senior care centers need to have steel nerves to keep calm and handle difficult patients. Older adults feel lonely, and they crave company. When they do not find anyone else, they try to find solace in nurses and engage them in lengthy conversations. Nurses who hold an Online Master of Science in Nursing possess persuading skills and can easily convince patients. Aside from other nursing expertise, they learn practical communication skills and deal with the patients efficiently.
Insufficient Medical Supplies
Most elderly nursing centers are often short of medical supplies. The nursing staff has no choice but to cater to patients’ needs with meager resources. Despite the several filing complaints with officials, they hardly get a reply. They get forced to continue working in inadequate working conditions. Acute scarcity of medical equipment like masks, gloves, necessary medications, injections, and other healthcare tools makes nurses’ already tricky job more challenging. Due to the unavailability of timely medicines, patients’ conditions often deteriorate. Hospitals generally distribute medical supplies to other medical care facility centers. They put elderly care at the end of their lists, so nurses often face a shortage of medical supplies.
Nurses rarely choose aged care centers by themselves, and most end up there by system. Most nurses have an idea about the challenges that await them there, so they do not go there by choice. Senior care centers often suffer because of inadequate staff. Some nurses do not possess the necessary skills. Some have to work for an extra hour, while others are old and are not aware of the nursing sector’s latest advancements. They continue to work with their traditional equipment and practice antiqued techniques.
Several studies have shown that job satisfaction in aged care nurses is significantly low. They have said that they would not think twice before switching to another sector if they ever got an offer. Their motivation level is low, and aged care nurses do not enjoy their job. Due to the aged care nursing department’s many problems, they are more inclined to look after younger patients. Experts comment that motivation level gets directly proportioned to the employees’ efficiency, and nurses dealing with elderly patients do not find enthusiasm in their job. They comment that they push themselves to go to work, and that affects their performance.
Hygiene is a significant aspect of health, and sick people need to be extra vigilant about their hygiene. As a result, stringent hygiene protocols are necessary for the patient’s and the nurse’s safety. Nurses and staff members must wear medical-grade nitrile gloves, face masks, and other personal protective equipment all time when interacting with patients. Elderly patients are mostly unable to take care of their hygiene and are dependent on nurses to look after them. They may need to get their dress and bed sheets changed a few times a day. With insufficient supplies and inadequate staff, nurses find it hard to maintain patients; hygiene. Inability to maintain proper hygiene leads to severe consequences, and patients’ conditions may worsen, making nurses’ jobs further challenging.
Little to No Family Support
Most elderly patients look forward to meeting their family members, friends, or acquaintances, but sadly they hardly get any visitors. Some health experts have commented that patients who live in the care of their families recover quickly. Aged patients mostly have very little or no family support, and they rely solely on nurses. Nurses not only have to tackle their physical care but also provide emotional and social support.
Long working hours
Nurses worldwide put in long working hours, and they are one of the underpaid professionals. Doctors need nurses at every step. Medical care facility centers do not seem to function without nurses, forcing nurses to work overtime. Still, most hospitals and clinics fail in paying accordingly. Besides, long,grueling working hours put nurses’ health at risk as they feel exhausted and cannot give their 100 % to their job. Nurses in aged care’ jobs are physically taxing and mentally draining.
Dealing with elderly patients is unlike handling younger patients as they can be a difficult nut to crack. Nurses in elderly care may have a passion for serving in the nursing industry, but most do not prefer to work with aged patients. Their job is demanding and monotonous and has several other challenges. Adequate funds, skillful staff, and proper check and balance will help overcome some of the challenges and help nurses provide better care to aged patients.
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