Where We Are Now: How COVID-19 Has Changed Nursing
COVID-19 has uprooted everyone’s lives around the world; and in the medical community, there has been a big learning curve while trying to figure out how to navigate these choppy waters.
Though we recognize it has impacted the medical community as a whole, nursing has been especially affected. Simply put – COVID-19 has changed nursing.
A lot of the changes experienced in the nursing industry have been made quickly due to to necessity and rippled through hospitals across the U.S.
Here are some of the changes in nursing seen, felt, and implemented since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Relaxed state licensure requirements for practice (though now states are tightening the rules again)
- New treatments, protocols, and rules – which are only the beginning of the information overload that nurses have had to sort through
- Many non-ICU nurses have had to quickly become critical care nurses, and even the ICU nurses have had to learn an entirely new skill set
- Nurses have had to embrace new technologies such as telemedicine
- Budget cuts in the field as a whole, which have eliminated some positions and created hiring and pay freezes
- Having to work with fewer resources and assistance
- Increasing staffing issues as the patients increase and the number of nurses available stays the same or decreases
- Increase in early retirement due to fears and frustrations with the virus, therefore, contributing to more staffing issues
- Increase in workplace anxiety, stress, and other mental health concerns
- Overall increase in fatigue and burnout
All of these changes have been in just a few short months. Stressful, huh? Well, on the (small) brightside, there have been a few positives to nursing on behalf of COVID-19.
These more positive changes include:
- A shortened and changed NCLEX to increase the number of nurses that can get licensed for the future (though you could argue the other way on this as well)
- Increase in work from home or telemedicine positions, which is a helpful alternative to standard hospital shifts for nurses
- More attention drawn to nurses and what their needs are
I don’t know about you, but after going through all of those changes and enduring these challenges daily, the entire nursing field could really use a pat on the back and a vacation.
What are some of the new changes you’ve experienced because of COVID-19? We’d love to hear from you! Drop a comment below, or join the conversation on Facebook.