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Diversity is an important issue across all industries—nursing included. Historically, nurses have been predominately white and female, according to census data reviewed by the American Journal of Nursing. Diversity in healthcare is needed for a number of reasons, including the ability for nurses to interact effectively with all patients. Since nursing diversity is still an issue today, a number of initiatives have been launched to attract more men and minorities to the field of nursing.

Diversity in Nursing and Cultural Competence in Nursing

In the field of nursing, there has become a call for nurses to be as diverse as the patients they serve. Nurses from different backgrounds will help develop a better understanding of what can impact a person’s overall well-being. A number of studies have been done to improve cultural competence in nursing. According to the Journal for the Critical Care Nurse, demonstrating cultural competence is extremely important for critical care nurses who are providing care in high-stress environments. Nurses must have an understanding of different cultures as a way to show respect when decisions are made that don’t always line up with mainstream healthcare practices.

In addition to attracting different cultures to the field of nursing, healthcare agencies can take steps to train current staff on how to provide cultural competent care. Training programs are designed to teach nurses about the expectations of patients from diverse backgrounds. For instance, knowing about the customs and communication rules for different ethnicities can assist nurses with providing the best care possible for each individual.

Men in Nursing

The American Association for Men in Nursing has started a campaign to increase the presence of males in the nursing field by at least 20% by the year 2020. The call for more male nurses comes from patients who feel more comfortable with healthcare providers of the same gender. As an example, a male patient may feel more comfortable with a male nurse who needs to insert a catheter or change a bedpan. The number of men in nursing has steadily risen since the 1970s. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 2.7% of registered nurses were male in 1970. In 2011, 9.6% of all registered nurses are male.

Minorities and LGBT in Nursing

Another part of improving diversity in nursing is increasing the number of minorities in the field. It is estimated that out of the 3 million plus nurses currently employed in the United States, only 25% come from racial or ethnic minorities. Registered nurses have an even lower percentage of minorities with only 13% of the population. Initiatives like the Campaign for Action are making strides for increasing the number of minorities who become nurses. The non-profit organization provides resources to prospective nurses who are minorities with incentives such as educational grants and scholarships.

Diversity in healthcare also includes the employment of LGBT nurses. LGBT individuals face stigma at every stage of their lives. With more LGBT nurses, the hope is patients will feel less shame and stigma when seeking out care.

Although diversity in nursing has not made as many strides as anticipated, the number of individuals from different backgrounds has increased substantially in response to changing societal norms.

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What Can Nurses Do Besides Direct Care?

When most people picture nurses, they visualize them providing bedside patient care in the hospital. However, there are a significant number of alternative nursing careers available. Direct care is a traditional track for many graduates of nursing schools, but others go onto work in non-healthcare places such as schools, business centers, and laboratories. Unconventional nursing jobs may be something students are interested in at the start of their careers or a possibility when they are considering a career change.

Non Nursing Jobs for Nurses

Unconventional nursing jobs allow BSN and MSN degree holders to use their educational background to secure positions that don’t necessarily have “nurse” in the job title. One example is a job as a safety director. Safety directors work for companies like insurance agencies and help analyze risks. They then make recommendations on how to protect clients from hazards. Social work is another type of job that nursing degree holders may choose to pursue. Social workers can be employed in clinical settings, but also work in schools, private practices, and human service agencies. Nurses can also find work as legal consultants. Consultants advise lawyers on standard medical practices and policies as a way to assist their clients.

Alternative Jobs: A Nursing Background

Career counselors and recruiters typically look at the skills acquired during a career in direct care to make suggestions about alternative nursing jobs. For instance, nurses have superior communication skills, so a career in customer service may be a good fit. Being able to work well with people is also a good skill to have for nurses who decide to go into the field of human resources. A career as a human resources manager is lucrative—with average salaries exceeding $113,000, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additional skills that nurses have include understanding medical terminology and medical coding. This could be useful for nurses who decide to go into the field of health informatics.

Most Common Career Change for Nurses

When looking at the most common career change for nurses, the individual will want to consider the reasons behind the switch. For instance, if a person is looking for a higher pay scale, he or she should review the average salaries for the position. As an example, although a health educator may sound like a good idea for switching careers, but with an average annual salary of $43,000 yearly, it may require the person to take a pay cut. Many nurses go into the following careers after leaving direct care position: nutritionist, pharmaceutical sales representative, teacher, mental health counselor, and caregiver. Nurses also go into laboratory positions and assist with researching diseases and medications.

Besides the most common career changes, nurses can look into unconventional nursing jobs that include traveling as a perk. For instance, resorts, cruise ships, and theme parks will often hire a nurse to treat any guest for acute ailments. Any new positions nurses apply for may require additional schooling and certifications. Employers will let prospective applicants know if they need more training for the non nursing position.

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How Serious is the US Nursing Shortage?

The nursing shortage in the United States has worsened in recent years. Studies are being conducted to not only determine the causes, but also to find effective nursing shortage solutions. Staffing shortages in healthcare are worse in certain regions, more so than others. The main concern about a reduced nursing workforce is that patient care will be impacted. Multiple research studies have confirmed a direct correlation between nursing shortages and higher mortality rates in hospital settings.

Nursing Shortage Causes

A key cause of nursing causes has been the aging out of nurses from the baby boomer generation. As baby boomers enter retirement, many nursing positions have opened up around the country. It is projected by the year 2029 the last of the baby boomer generation will be eligible for retirement. Besides direct care nurses, the shortage will extend to nurse educators. With less nursing teachers, there will be fewer available faculty to train prospective nurses.

A high nursing turnover rate has also been attributed to the nursing shortage. Nurses tend to burnout from the high demands of the job and long scheduled shifts. The average turnover rate for registered nurses was more than 17% as of 2018. Specialties of the nurses has also been shown to impact the turnover rate. Nurses who work in behavioral health, telemetry, and emergency medicine have an average turnover rate in excess of 19% in 2018. Nurses working in burn centers, women’s health facilities, pediatrics, and surgery centers have the lowest specialty turnover rate. With fewer nurses, job satisfaction is expected to get even worse as nurses become overworked and stressed by the lack of adequate staffing.

Location is another factor when evaluating the nursing shortage in the United States. Currently, the following states have the greatest number of vacant nursing positions: California, Texas, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Alaska. The disparities between supply and demand for nurses in these states are projected to continue to grow farther apart through the year 2030.

The need for more nurses is another reason for the national nursing shortage. As the baby boomer generation grows older, an increased number of nurses are needed to care for elderly patients. The American Nurses Foundation estimates there will be a need for at least 11% more nurses by the year 2022.

Lastly, violence has been linked to fewer healthcare workers. In medical settings, healthcare professionals are more likely to be treated aggressively. Nurses may be the targets of verbal or physical abused by patients. According to the World Health Organization, 8% to 38% of all healthcare workers around the world have suffered some form of violence over the course of their careers.

Nursing Shortage Solutions

Nursing schools, medical organizations, state agencies, and non-profits have all made strides toward developing nursing shortage solutions. In Wisconsin, the state has offered loan forgiveness and grants to attract more nursing students to regional colleges. National universities are changing their educational programs to help nurses earn higher degrees while still working. The degree tracks allow registered nurses to get their BSNs and MSNs by attending online courses and earning clinical hours within their geographic locations.

Healthcare agencies can also assist with addressing the nursing shortage. Employers can start employee initiatives to alleviate common job stressors. For instance, hiring more medical assistants can help reduce a nurse’s workload. Adding new technology that makes a nurse’s job easier could also reduce on-the-job stress. More nurse incentives are recommended too. For instance, employers can provide paid training sessions, school loan reimbursement, and promoting internally.

The good news for prospective nurses is finding a job isn’t challenging. Moreover, nursing students may even get assistance paying for their education.

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What Kinds of Qualities Should Good Nurses Have?

The truth is not all individuals have the right nurse personality traits. A person’s innate characteristics determine whether he ore she will make a good nurse. The nursing profession has its challenges and the right kind of person will tackle these challenges head-on. Here are the top five qualities of a good nurse:

Desire to Help

Nurse personality traits should include a willingness to help others. Nurses are grateful to be of aid in a person’s time of need. Although nurses provide medical care, they are also responsible for giving comfort. Nurses who don’t have compassion will not have the capacity to give high-quality patient care.

Superior Communication Skills

Being a good communicator is a must for a nurse. Nurses are typically the facilitator between doctors and patients. Nurses are required to instruct patients on their care in an effective way. Nurses must be able to work with patients and their families to ensure they understand the care options available. Nurses not only need to communicate well with patients, but other healthcare staff too. Doctors depend on nurses to keep them on task throughout the day.

Emotional Control

Nurses are known for demonstrating grace under pressure. They are consistently exposed to stressful situations and must be able to stay calm at all times. Nurses may see patients suffer daily and they need to not get overly emotional. A great nurse will be able to stay strong and not feel sad or depressed over poor patient outcomes. Instead, an example of the qualities of a nurse leader is to gain hope when witnessing positive patient outcomes instead of focusing on the negative.

Flexibility

The qualities of a nurse leader should include flexibility. A nurse’s day can look very different from shift to shift. Nurses can’t have a fixed mindset if they want to succeed in the career. Also, nurses must be flexible with their schedules. Many healthcare facilities require long shifts, weekend hours, or overnight schedules. If the 9 to 5 life sounds unappealing, then a nursing career may be a great fit.

Detail Oriented

A nurse’s ability to pay close attention to detail can be a matter of life or death. Not reading a patient’s chart correctly could have dire consequences. Nurses must remember even the smallest of details for each patient to ensure proper care. Furthermore, nurses spend more time with patients than doctors. When a nurse notices subtle changes in a patient’s condition, this may save the patient’s life.

Consider the preceding five qualities of a good nurse before entering the profession. Certain personalities will flourish in a nursing career while others may struggle. Nursing is an extremely rewarding profession both financially and emotionally when a person has the right type of outlook.

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How Does Technology Impact Nursing?

In the past decade, major strides have been made in the field of technology. Healthcare, in particular, has changed drastically due to the availability of new technology. Nursing technology has allowed for nurses to provide better care in an efficient way to their patients. Technology has also created new specializations in the nursing industry, including nursing informatics.

Benefits of Information Technology in Nursing

According to a 2018 survey of 600 nurses, 82% felt technology positively impacts patient care. Devices, computer programs, and robotics are just a few examples of new nursing technology available. In hospitals and doctor’s offices around the nation, nurses are using wireless devices and applications to access patient information in seconds. Electronic healthcare records are becoming more commonplace and studies have proven the benefits. Electronic healthcare records reduce incidences of human error and have increased the number of positive patient outcomes.

Nursing Technology Advancements

Nurses and patients are benefiting from the latest technology developed to address medical issues. For instance, electronic lift systems have assisted in reducing the number of nurses hurt at work. Hospitals have also installed RFID systems as a way to track inpatients. The wristbands with the RFID technology can be scanned throughout the treatment process to identify the patient and ensure they receive the correct medications. Electronic borders can be implemented to alert nurses when a patient wanders out of bounds. These systems prevent patients from injuries. Chips and codes can also be placed on expensive pieces of medical equipment as a way to help nurses easily locate the item when needed and stop theft.

What is Nursing Informatics?

Nursing informatics jobs combine traditional nursing duties with computer skills. Nursing informatics will involve overseeing the electronic data needed to provide patient care. Duties may include managing electronic healthcare record systems and ensuring all patient data is accessible to healthcare providers. Nursing informatics programs are required to prepare a nurse for the job. Nursing informatics certification requirements vary, but typically ask for two years of full-time RN experience and 30 hours of nursing informatics course. Nursing informatics salary figures are competitive with the average annual pay of $93,000.

Any disadvantages of technology in nursing? For the most part, technological advancements have benefited the industry. However, disadvantages of technology in nursing include difficulties navigating the programs and too much reliance on them. If technology fails or malfunctions, it can be disastrous for the healthcare industry. As long as healthcare facilities have a backup plan in case of technology failure, patients and nurses will experience more benefits than drawbacks.

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All Articles:

10 Greatest Nurses Of World War I
10 Most Popular Specialized Nursing Fields
10 TV Nurses We’d Love To Work With
20 Habits To Help You Hack Nursing School
50 Top Nursing Blogs
Angels On The Battlefield: Nurses At War
Best 50+ Nursing Podcasts For 2018
Bringing Birth Back
Dual Major Options For Nursing Students
Medicated To Death?
Nursing Diversity
Nursing Student Resource Guide
Real Cultural Competency For Nurses
The 25 Best Nursing Jobs
The Breakdown: NP Vs. DNP
The Dark Side Of Nursing
The Growth And Importance Of Online Nursing Programs
The History Of Nursing
The Rise Of Veganism: Start A Revolution!
The Ultimate Guide For Black Nurses And Nursing Students
Top 10 Minority Nursing Scholarships 2019
Top 10 Nursing Scholarships For Men 2019
Top 10 TED Talks For Nurses
Top 15 HBCU Nursing Schools 2019
Top 25 Nursing Student Blogs
Top 25 Scholarships For Nursing Students
Top 50 Nursing Blogs
Up In Smoke: All You Need To Know About Cigarettes
What’s It Like To Be A Male Nurse?