The nursing shortage is real. A recent survey talked to chief nursing officers across the nation, and at least 72% of them admitted to seeing a moderate shortage. This doesn’t include the fact that things are worse for small clinics and rural hospitals. All of this is creating a new world for aspiring RNs, and it’s important to understand what aspiring nurses can expect from the shortage.
Employers usually hold all the cards. They tell workers what they’re willing to pay potential employees, and they have no choice but to accept those terms. They usually don’t have anywhere else to go, but that’s not the case for nurses, at least at the moment. This shortage has shifted the power away from employers and into the hands of the nurses. This means nurses can demand more perks when choosing a particular hospital or clinic. If that clinic or hospital isn’t willing to offer perks other hospitals or clinics offer, then the position will simply not get filled. Aspiring nurses should learn what benefits to expect before accepting a position.
As the shortage continued to get worse, it became harder for hospitals to vet each applicant well. This led to hostile work environments that some might call toxic. The nursing career is naturally stressful. Yes, these folks are saving lives, but they’re also dealing with heartbreaking situations day in and day out. There’s no need to add a toxic workplace into the mix. Many hospitals are turning to comprehensive employment background check systems to screen their applicants better. Doing so increases the chances of hiring reliable personnel.
Once upon a time, nurses had to live wherever the job was at the time. What they wanted out of life didn’t matter. If they wanted to do a job they loved, they had to accept the location. That’s no longer the case, especially now that the remote worker continues to rise in popularity. People don’t want to be stuck in one city. People want to move around if they wish to, and that’s exactly what nurses can expect, thanks to the shortage. The shortage makes it easy for a nurse to let go of one job and move and get another. Location dependency is no longer something nurses need to worry about.
After all the pressure nurses go through, to come out on the other side with a salary that doesn’t address the cost of living is just sad. Nurse unions do their part to rectify this problem, but the reality is this shortage is helping to make improvements on that end. The key is to ensure that all nurses, especially new ones, don’t accept lower pay. More hospitals and health care centers are bending a bit to the will of the people by offering increased pay rates. Hopefully, this trend only continues to get better.
The shortage is also creating a heavier workload for some. The job of a medical professional is already pretty demanding, so a more significant workload is something to worry about. The shortage has gotten so bad that nurses have some power against massive workloads. Nurses can find out what is expected before they are hired. If the duties are too much, it’s okay to refuse that position and find one that won’t require an impossible amount of work. Yes, searching for a job that doesn’t require too much is going to take up more time, but it’ll be worth it. The last thing a nurse wants is to feel exhausted when the day is over.
These are just some things aspiring RNs can expect from this career. Of course, these are the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much changing because of this shortage, and it’s important to pay attention to those changes.