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6 Ways To Help Reduce Nurse Fatigue In 2024

nurse fatigue 2024

When it is your job to constantly take care of others, you want to ensure that you also take care of yourself. In the healthcare world, this seems obvious, but nurses are at huge risk of constant fatigue

Nursing is a demanding profession that usually requires long hours, intense focus, and a lot of physical, and emotional strength. Nurse fatigue is a common issue seen in the healthcare industry, and can have serious consequences like decreased job satisfaction, increased risk of medical errors, and even compromised safety. Fortunately, there are several ways to help reduce nurse fatigue that we will discuss below. But first, let’s learn more about what fatigue is.

What is Fatigue? How is it Different From Tiredness?

Fatigue isn’t just simply being tired, it is much more extensive than that. It’s a state of physical and mental exhaustion that affects a person’s ability to function effectively. Occasional fatigue is normal, and many people have probably experienced it at one point or another, but the persistent fatigue that nurses face can be a serious problem.

Persistent fatigue can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, as well as their ability to perform daily activities and work-related tasks. For nurses, this can lead to serious health concerns, jeopardize patient safety, and put employers at risk.

When you are tired, a good night’s sleep and some quick self-care can do the trick, but when you are fatigued, you may need to adjust entire aspects of your life to fully feel better. Managing fatigue is important for maintaining overall health and well-being.

What Causes Fatigue?

Nearly 85% of nurses experience some form of fatigue (career, mental, physical, etc.). So what is causing our essential healthcare workers to feel this way?

The primary cause of fatigue is inadequate sleep. Health issues, bad habits, or intense daily routines can also contribute to fatigue. Because of how frequently their work schedules conflict with the regular pattern of rest, many nurses find it difficult to obtain enough sleep. Being under constant stress with patients and maybe consuming too much caffeine on the job are also cited as causes of fatigue.

Knowing what causes fatigue and preparing healthcare facilities can help diminish major issues. Read the following ways how to help reduce nurse fatigue.

Ways to Reduce Nurse Fatigue

Adequate Rest and Sleep

rest and sleep

One of the most essential factors in reducing nurse fatigue is ensuring that nurses get adequate rest and sleep. This can be challenging in a profession that requires unconventional schedules and long hours, but it is essential for maintaining physical and mental health. Nurses should prioritize getting enough sleep – aiming for 7 or more hours – to help keep fatigue away. This may include using earplugs or white noise machines to block out distractions and minimizing exposure to light during sleep hours.

Proper Nutrition and Hydration

Another key factor in reducing nurse fatigue is maintaining proper nutrition and hydration. Nurses should aim to eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. They should also stay hydrated by drinking water and avoiding sugary or caffeinated beverages (we know energy drinks are important for long work days but too much caffeine can worsen fatigue).

Proper nutrition and hydration can help maintain energy levels and reduce feelings of fatigue throughout the day. Additionally, healthcare facilities should make sure their staff has easy access to healthy food and snack options.

Prioritize Breaks and Self-Care 

take a break

Nurses should be able to take regular breaks and ensure they have adequate time off to recharge, recover, and enjoy life. This may mean taking a short walk, stretching, or doing a mindfulness exercise during a break. It also means ensuring that nurses have enough time off between shifts to rest and recover.

Allowing nurses to work flexible schedules can help them figure out what their individual needs are to feel well-rounded in their careers. Additionally, simple self-care for as little as 10 minutes a day can help nurses feel happier, healthier, and more satisfied with their jobs.

Ergonomic Workspaces

ergonomic workplaces

Nurses spend a lot of time on their feet performing physically demanding tasks. So finding a way to make the work environment more ergonomic will be beneficial to reducing fatigue. This may include using proper lifting techniques, adjusting the height of equipment to avoid awkward positions, and using comfortable and supportive footwear.

Ergonomic workspaces, such as Workstations on Wheels (WOWs) can help reduce physical strain and prevent fatigue. DATACART™ medical carts provide nurses with convenient sit-to-stand capabilities and ergonomic accessories that will give them much-needed rest while still being able to properly complete their daily tasks. Medical carts may even help nurses become more productive and efficient.

Supportive Work Environment

Creating a supportive work environment is essential for reducing nurse fatigue. This includes having a positive workplace culture that values teamwork, communication, and mutual respect. Nurses should feel comfortable raising concerns and providing feedback on work processes that may be contributing to fatigue. A supportive work environment can also help reduce stress and prevent burnout.

Set Boundaries

When a job demands dealing with families, sick individuals, and other coworkers, it is easy to get overwhelmed by constant interactions. Setting boundaries can help keep nurses motivated throughout their careers and prevent them from becoming overburdened by the number of individuals they must engage with each day.

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Top 5 Nursing Trends in 2024

Top 5 nursing trends in 2023

As we look ahead into the future of nursing, there are a lot of things that are likely to change as hospitals and healthcare systems continue to evolve and address many of the current nursing issues and concerns of their staff.

There are many trends that we see as possibilities in 2024, but here are some of the trends in nursing that we think we will see play a big part throughout the next year.

Home Healthcare Will Increase 

US Home Healthcare Market

Image: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/us-home-healthcare-market-report

In 2024, nurses of all experience levels should expect to have normal interactions within home healthcare services. The demand for accessible in-home healthcare will continue to grow due to integrations with telehealth medicine and nursing homes closing across the country. 

The Choose Home Care Act, proposed to the Senate in July 2021 and to the U.S. House of Representatives in October 2021, is currently under consideration. If approved, this law would enhance Medicare’s coverage for home healthcare services.

The Act could also promote remote monitoring and telehealth nursing services for the elderly, offering them an alternative to nursing facilities post-hospitalization.

As the home healthcare sector grows, there is an increasing demand for standardization. Experts emphasize the need for uniform licensing requirements across states to simplify federal applications.

Leaders in the industry are advocating for standardized procedures for onboarding and vetting, encompassing background assessments, experience checks, certification verification, and social security cross-checking. 

Nursing Shortage Will Continue 

Nursing shortage 2024 map

Image: https://nursejournal.org/articles/the-us-nursing-shortage-state-by-state-breakdown/

The largest nursing shortage the U.S. has ever seen is a result of both a growing need for nursing staff to care for patients with more complicated healthcare requirements and a declining supply of nurses. The shortage is expected to continue throughout 2024. 

The nursing shortage also affects the quality of care that patients receive. Hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities may struggle to meet the demands of patients, leading to longer wait times, increased patient-to-nurse ratios, and higher rates of burnout among young nurses. 

Efforts to address the nursing shortage include increasing the number of nursing school graduates, offering incentives for nurses to remain in the workforce, and creating more flexible work schedules to attract and retain nurses. Additionally, the use of technology and telehealth can be a way to alleviate the shortage by allowing nurses to reach more patients remotely.

“The number of people entering the nursing workforce is increasing, but it is not keeping pace with the need,” says Maryann Alexander, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, chief officer of nursing regulation at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing in Chicago. “Additionally, the number of advanced practice registered nurses is increasing.”

A number of states are evaluating the minimum number of general nurses needed for staff positions and increasing financing for healthcare facilities. For the purpose of increasing the number of new nurses, some states are now investing in nursing education, and some universities are increasingly offering rolling admission for nurse-related studies. Finally, other states are considering increasing pay and establishing better, safer healthcare ratios. 

Nursing Home Staffing Will Be Regulated

In 2023, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the proposed legislation aimed at regulating staffing levels in nursing homes.

The proposed rule is aimed at enhancing staffing assessments, enforcement strategies, and instituting new Medicaid payment reporting requirements.

The CMS rule suggests a minimum of .55 hours for registered nurses (RNs) and 2.45 hours for nurse aides per resident each day. Additionally, the proposal, which includes a $75 million provision for nurse aides’ training, mandates 24/7 RN staffing in nursing home facilities.

Elaina Hall, the Chief Quality Officer at SnapCare, noted the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal. “Nursing homes can be demanding workplaces and places for loved ones to reside. However, the challenge lies in reimbursement issues. Medicare and Medicaid don’t offer substantial payments,” she said.

Hall further explained that the benefits of mandated ratios include enhanced patient care and safety, improved care quality, and prevention of staff burnout. However, facilities are resisting the proposal due to affordability issues.

Facilities struggle with affording the staffing costs and ratios and receiving adequate reimbursements. They’ll also face regulatory challenges as state visits to their site will become necessary. The state will need to devise a plan to monitor, staff, and enforce this mandate. Thus, while the intention behind the rule is positive, its execution and implementation present significant challenges.

Federal Funding Increase

The U.S. Department of Labor announced $80 million in grants to encourage more nurses to enroll in nursing schools and expand the number of nursing professors. The funds will help train additional nurse faculty, who in turn will educate more nurses.

Organizations that suggest plans to aid underrepresented groups as they enroll in nursing programs will be given grants. Successful grant applications will put forth initiatives that foster community relationships and recruit new nurses.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that, “more than 275,000 additional nurses are needed from 2020 to 2030, and that employment opportunities for nurses will grow at 9 percent, faster than all other occupations from 2016 through 2026.”

Despite general nursing shortages, this federal funding is estimated to be a substantial solution to fixing healthcare gaps that may be experienced.

Nurses Will Earn More 

Nurses are well-positioned to negotiate for higher pay. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the median yearly pay for Registered Nurses (RNs) is $81,220, while Nurse Practitioners earn a median of $125,900 per year.

Research by Statista demonstrates a growth in RN salaries, increasing from approximately $69,000 in 2011 to $80,000 in 2020. This upward trend is predicted to continue over the next decade due to the rising demand for nursing professionals.

Moreover, hospitals have started providing signing bonuses to nurses, particularly in rural areas where healthcare resources are limited. Additional incentives being offered include complimentary accommodation and educational financial assistance.

Healthcare and Nursing Education Will be Influenced by Artificial Intelligence

A report from March 2023 reveals that the National Science Foundation is funding AI research and education with the goal of enhancing educational equity through AI-assisted learning.

The report highlights that tools like ChatGPT can create simulated patient interactions and other scenario-based exercises as an engaging educational resource for nursing professionals.

Moreover, AI’s capacity to automate evaluations and grading lightens the workload of nursing educators, mitigating the burnout that has led many to leave the profession. However, AI extends beyond just chatbots.
A July 2023 report from Western Governors University (WGU) states that AI has been shaping nursing since the early 1980s, transforming the profession with predictive modeling, assistive robotics, and other innovative technologies.

Focus on Mental Health

Mental Health for Nurses

It’s no secret that these last few years have been extremely rough on healthcare professionals. Many of them have been asked to work long hours in tough conditions, often to the point of burnout. Through doing that, there has been an incredible new focus on making sure that nurses are not only appreciated but also given the time needed to recover properly from a tough shift and have the resources they need to do their jobs.

A 2022 survey conducted by Reputation Leaders found that 58% of nursing professionals were not regularly offered grief counseling, and 37% of nurses did not feel supported in their mental health (that is within the same ratio as the graph percentage above).

This renewed focus on mental health for nurses is a fantastic thing for them, medical facilities, and patients alike. The nursing staff is often the front line of communication between the medical team and the patient. A nurse who is refreshed and given resources to focus on mental health can better communicate with patients and provide overall better care with improved outcomes. This means the patient gets excellent care and may be able to recover more quickly and have a better overall experience.

What is not to love about that?

Takeaways

The most important takeaway from the trends in nursing for 2024 is that although there aren’t many new or revolutionary things coming within the new year, there will be expanded efforts on nurses’ education, funding, and mental health. Nursing staff deserve to feel valued, taken care of, and balanced.

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Benefits of Workstations on Wheels in Healthcare

Workstation on Wheels Blog

How are Workstations on Wheels used in healthcare?

Medical carts, also known as Workstations on Wheels (WoW) or Computers on Wheels (CoW), are used in a wide variety of different healthcare facilities. These workstations offer a range of benefits for healthcare professionals, patients, and facilities alike. With increased mobility and efficiency at the top of the benefits list, medical facilities can accomplish their goals faster than ever. 

Let’s dig into the various benefits of WoWs!

Streamline workflow

There are more opportunities to streamline workflows in healthcare facilities. Until very recently, staff needed to make several trips back and forth between their standard workstations, offices, and patient rooms. This is an incredibly inefficient process that, while the amount of extra time for each trip isn’t large, the overall lost time adds up to a large number.

Workstations on Wheels improve efficiency by allowing healthcare professionals to access patient information and perform tasks quickly and easily. These workstations help save time and increase productivity. This is particularly important in healthcare environments, where time is of the essence.

With WoWs, you can access information as soon as it becomes available from anywhere in the hospital. Furthermore, powered medical carts can be utilized throughout the day without needing to plug in or charge up. No more having to find an outlet; just charge the batteries during non-use, and you’ll be powered up all day long.

Optimize Productivity

Needless to say, working in the healthcare industry can be a very tiresome job at times. When you are constantly juggling patients, being on your feet, or carrying lots of documents from room to room, you are bound to feel drained. 

One constant issue in the medical industry is the need to find ways to make staff more efficient in their day-to-day work. In a hectic place like an emergency room or hospital, this is far from an easy task. One of the biggest ways that Workstations on Wheels help medical professionals and medical facilities alike is their ability to make everyone more efficient.

Making sure more patients can be visited by providing proper storage, giving staff more energy with ergonomic medical carts, and adding additional technology that makes knowledge transfer easier are all things that Workstations on Wheels can help with.

Additionally, DATACART™ medical carts provide staff with convenient sit-to-stand capabilities that will give your staff a much-needed change.

Increased Accessibility

In addition, mobile workstations can improve patient care by providing healthcare professionals with easy access to patient information. The amount of data we have now in the healthcare industry is an incredible advancement. At a moment’s notice, medical professionals can have the entire history of an individual. That information can help ensure that the patient is cared for properly. This can help healthcare professionals make more informed decisions and provide more accurate and effective treatment.

This is where WoWs can become extremely helpful. Although it is nice to have everything remotely online, files are still a common backup in most medical facilities.

DATACARTsecure carts make sure that these records are kept safe with an accessory like a locking storage drawer and that your hardware cannot be stolen by locking your laptop or computer into place. Healthcare is more accessible and secure than ever before.

That is why WoWs are perfect for telemedicine visits as well. With patient documents having a secured online database and WoWs offering doctors remote working spaces, telehealth is becoming the top choice for routine care post-pandemic. 

Cleanliness

Lastly, maintaining a clean environment is essential. While Workstations on Wheels can’t clean the facility for you, they won’t be something your staff needs to be overly concerned about. All our computer carts are antimicrobial, made of materials that are easy to clean. We also have accessories to hold Sani-Wipes directly on the carts!

Additionally, since WoWs make remote healthcare more accessible, they reduce the risk of infection transmission by avoiding unnecessary movement of patients or doctors.

How does your staff use Workstations on Wheels to make their jobs easier? In what ways can your facility benefit from medical carts? These workstations are a must-have for any healthcare facility looking to improve patient outcomes and streamline operations.

What is great is that DataCart™ mobile workstations are completely customizable to meet your needs. We can provide whatever solutions you require to increase the efficiency of your staff!