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The Top 10 Complaints from Nurses
Nurses are a tough group: they endure long hours, and situations that you
never could imagine. Quick thinking and saving lives all go along with the
position of being a nurse. Like anyone in their field, nurses have some
concerns/complaints. In order to have your complaints addressed, it may be
best to bring it to the attention of the appropriate person by indicating it is
indeed a concern rather than an annoyance, and avoid the word complaint.
Providing it is addressed, the term becomes irrelevant anyway.
As healthcare costs increase, decreasing the number of staff nurses is often
seen as the logical way to combat it. Inadequate staffing and/or increased
job responsibilities both cause problems and stress for nurses. This is
especially true for those staff nurses facing a variety of patient acuities. In
response, some states have adopted legislation to mandate a fixed nurse-topatient ratio. Covering a hospital floor when there is a staff shortage can be
exhausting. Patients become irritated a slow response time by nurses and
coworkers can be stressed and often take it out on one another.
Related: How to Financially Prepare To Go Back To School
Conflicting views and feeling that you are being disrespected often cause
problems. These conflicts in nursing relationships can arise between nurse
and their patients, their co-workers, partner physicians, and/or
administrators. Stay off certain subjects regardless of whether you are
invited to share your opinion. Politics and religion are two subjects to avoid
at all cost. It may also be a good idea to avoid social media sites with
coworkers if you express your political views, you never know who you may
offend, and then have to work with them.
Nurses are already stretched too thin to accommodate staffing issues. But
patients still have needs and expectations. Unfortunately, meeting these are
difficult. This is especially true as health care conditions become more
chronic, and the number of personnel decreases. It can be very frustrating
to do the absolute best job you can, only to receive a complaint from a
patient's family. Most of the time, the complaints center around lack of
attention/care of the nurse. You can’t argue with the patient or their family,
and there is never an appropriate time to enlighten the patient to the
staffing shortage. Do what you can, and be sure to point out to your
supervisor that your patients are concerned over the lack of time being
devoted to them.
On the Job Hazards and Job Safety
Overflowing sharps containers and slippery floors can pose risks for staff
members. Similarly, lifting heavy patients can pose a physical challenge. And
since you do work with those patients who are “sick,” there is a likelihood of
contracting their illness.
These hazards also include the behavior of other people. In some cases,
nurses report feeling threatened by angry patients. That lack of respect
and/or verbal abuse may also come from administrators, physicians, and
other members of the care team. This problem is most often prevalent in
an emergency department. Most hospitals have adequate security to ensure
the safety of patients and staff; don’t hesitate to call security if you feel at
There are also cases when nurses have to go on mandatory overtime. This
can be the result of insufficient staffing levels and/or high patient acuity.
There is little a nurse can do about staff shortages; in many cases overtime
cannot be refused.
Related: Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Get to Know Your Preceptor
“Ask the Nurse”
You don’t know everything about healthcare and related diagnoses simply
because you are a nurse. However, friends and family still feel free to call
you at any given hour to ask your perspective on a symptom or prescribed
medication, just because you are in the nursing profession. Consider
making a humorous situation out of this. When someone asks you for
medical advice, tell them that there will be a $40 charge, then hold your
hand, this should get the message across in a humorous way without hurting
It is easy to develop a close relationship with your patients. When that
patient struggles or even dies, you feel their pain and you feel that loss. So
maintaining a healthy, professional relationship with the patient is a must.
Boundaries are sometimes difficult to maintain when you have a patient that
has been under your care for some time. Hold those tears, no matter what.
Once you leave the area, and are away from family members you can
compose yourself as necessary.
Advances in Technology
As technology advances, so do your career roles. For example, with the
growth of the Internet and smart phones, your roles and duties have
changed. Documentation and databases are now mostly electronic. Using
Skype to communicate is also common. As professionals, keeping abreast
with these advances is essential. Many nurses are fine with technology;
however, some may offer resistance. If you notice a coworker struggling
with a computer program or other tech device, if you feel comfortable doing
so, offer assistance, not everyone is tech savvy.
Demonstrations of competence are a must. Maintaining continuing education
hours and related certifications are often required. And while these equate to
safer patient care that adhere to best practices, maintaining the required
certifications are often overwhelming when you’re juggling a full-time
position and personal responsibilities. Alert your human resource
department if you feel certifications or required trainings are interfering with
your position. On top of this snapshot of risks for the general practitioner, it
is equally important to remember that each specific practice venue is
different. Each specialty has its own risks. But by being proactive and
cognizant of these challenges, you can develop a better plan of defense
while in the nursing profession. You want to stay apprised of new advances,
and certifications and trainings are the best way to do this. Just make sure
the time of the trainings do not prevent you from a proper break in your
Most hospitals have moved away from having nurses work different shifts,
however, this is still practiced in some areas. Working an overnight shift,
and leaving work at 7 a.m., only to have to return at 3 p.m. is very difficult,
and should not be a regular practice.
No one wants to hear constant complaints, but there is a time and place to
voice your concerns. Just make sure it's to the appropriate person.
Related: List of nursing organizations
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