In January of 2015, the American Journal of Nursing published a brief article that looked at the top news stories in nursing over the past year. The stories involved three areas: workplace stress, nursing education, and nursing’s image. I had to shake my head and chuckle when I read the subject matter. Two of these three topics have consumed nursing’s focus for as long as I have been involved in the profession. I would hazard a guess they most likely were a concern before I became a nurse as well. Not much has changed in almost 30 years. It is both humorous and sad at the same time.
“Workplace stress and burnout continued to plague nurses in 2015, and many nurses believe their organizations don’t help them cope.” I would have gone a step further and said that many, if not most, organizations are the cause of the stress. For me, workplace stress was not a direct result of caring for patients, although admittedly that had its moments. The stress resulted from the situations nurses had to deal with as a result of poor staffing and a lack of administration support in a multitude of areas. I no longer practice nursing and haven’t practiced for many years, but I speak with those who do on a daily basis. I have discovered that despite all of the push and promotion of Magnet status, things have not really changed at all. Nurses have been lobbying for better staffing for as long as I can remember and according to the top news stories of 2015, they still are.
The workplace stress and burnout recommendations I have read are mostly reactionary. Why not become proactive and correct the causes? Magnet Status goals include an element of job satisfaction and attempt to do just that. Yet, the program does not seem to be very effective. Or, at least the evidence is contradictory [1,3]. I do know that what the profession has been doing over the recent past is obviously not working very well. Perhaps it is time to try a different tact.
1. Kelly, L. A., McHugh, M. D., & Aiken, L. H. (2011). Nurse outcomes in Magnet® and non-Magnet hospitals. The Journal of nursing administration, 41(10), 428.
2. Potera, C. (2016). The Top Nursing News Stories of 2015. American Journal Of Nursing, 116(1), 16-16 1p.
3. Trinkoff, A., Johantgen, M., Storr, C., Han, K., Liang, Y., Gurses, A., & Hopkinson, S. (2010). A comparison of working conditions among nurses in Magnet and non-Magnet hospitals. Journal Of Nursing Administration, 40(7/8), 309-315 7p. doi:10.1097/NNA.0b013e3181e93719