Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Economic Effects on the Nursing Profession

The downturn in the economy has done a couple of things for the nursing profession. More nurses who have not worked as nurses for awhile have returned to active status in order to bolster their family income and to cover lost income for instance if a spouse has lost a job. This has lessened some of the nursing shortage.

On the other hand, as in any industry, cut backs are likely. Where nurses are going to be most affected by this is in areas where nurse-to-patient ratios are not set and/or enforced. Mandatory overtime will also continue to be an issue, and where it has not been, expect that it may come to be a problem.

Nurses will continue to have good job security as a general rule, but this can vary with the financial stability of the facility or company.

Working conditions have always been a huge issue for nurses, and with a recession heading more towards a depression, this is going to be an even bigger issue. What we need to do is to remain a strong collective voice and continue to advocate for better conditions and improved patient care and safety.

With all of these challenges, it will be increasingly important for nurses to work closely with their administration and to make needs and ideas known to those who can help to make them realities such as legislators. Establishing and enforcing nurse-to-patient ratios will be ever more important in the future.