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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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What Nurses Look For When Selecting Telehealth Carts

What to look for in telehealth carts

Telehealth is on the rise at a rapid pace in 2022, and the equipment and advancements in telehealth and telemedicine are only getting better. Nurses now have access not only at their fingertips to their records, communication channels, and other tools and assets but they also have this access available on the go with the addition of telehealth carts. Telehealth medical carts are not only beneficial to nurses for their transportability, but also for their communication capabilities, ease of use, customization, and so much more.

What Nurses Look for When Selecting a Telehealth Cart

When the time comes for nurses to select the telehealth cart that is the best fit for them, there are 3 main categories to look into before making a decision.

Transportability

Having the freedom to take your gear on the go is a huge benefit when working in the medical field. Whether that’s different electronic devices or the need for a full computer setup, telehealth carts help keep needed items close by at all times. Our carts also have the option of battery life on the go, without the hassle of cords, wires, and the need to navigate an outlet.

Nurses are constantly on their feet and carrying multiple items at a time. Our carts provide the ability to place your work materials down while also being able to take them with you anywhere throughout the day. Some of our carts also come with the addition of utility bins and compartments to provide the perfect amount of additional storage for what you need from one location to the next.

Communication

Adaptation to digital communication is a key factor when purchasing new equipment. Living in the age of COVID-19, having access to digital communication with patients allows nurses to do their job anywhere, at any time. Using telehealth carts that allow for wireless audio communication and that integrate high-definition cameras provides cost-effective ways to properly and efficiently provide a remote diagnosis in a clinical setting.

This also allows for nurses, doctors, and patients to develop face-to-face relationships and convey empathy through their visits all while being in different locations. Having the access to wireless, visual and audio communication helps staff build more connections, and be more personable and intentional.

Ease of Use

After a long day on the job, the number one thing nurses are looking for is equipment that allows for an efficient setup, is customizable to their liking, and is easy to clean. With a telehealth cart, nurses can take their workstations on the go, optimize their cart with customization, and routinely keep up on maintenance and cleaning without the hassle of an entire workspace.

Which DataCart SFF Cart to Choose

There are so many options of DataCart SFF carts to choose from, so which one should you purchase? The decision may feel impossible, but there are plenty of ways to focus on a specific type of cart that we offer.

Tablet Roll Stand

If you’re looking for the cart to best fit for transportability, you may want to check out our Tablet Roll Stand. Complete with a multi-purpose storage bin, 3″ noiseless easy roll twin casters, and easily adjustable tablet viewing modes for optimal viewing comfort. This tablet on wheels solution is compact, lightweight, and easily transportable throughout any environment.

tablet roll stand telehealth cart

Telestroke Cart

Now, if communication is at the top of your list of needs, our Telestroke Cart may be the best fit for you. This cart is designed specifically for telehealth and telemedicine, with wireless audio communication and a high-tech HD camera with remote camera control. This cart is ideal for providing a cost-effective technology solution to assist in proper and efficient remote diagnosis in the clinical setting.

telestroke cart telehealth cart

SFF Cart

Our Small Form Factor Cart is one of our top recommendations if ease of use is most important when selecting telehealth carts. This cart delivers full functionality in a small form factor of 14.5” x 13.5”, answering the need to maneuver in even the smallest spaces. With the option to choose your work surface style, this cart also offers custom configurations to create the best fit for you.

SFF telehealth cart

Our main goal here at DataCart is to create SFF carts best fit for those in the healthcare field. Although some of our carts stand out more than others for certain goals, each of our carts is designed specifically to benefit nurses and doctors to the highest capacity. If you’re in the market for a new cart, but still have questions, please contact us today and let us help guide you in the right direction!

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What is Telehealth Nursing?

What is Telehealth Nursing

While the entire medical industry has changed quite a bit over the last few years, the world of nursing has probably changed the most drastically and will continue to here in 2022.

While there are a ton of changes that should be talked about, we are going to focus on just one for this article – the emergence of telehealth nursing.

Telehealth might be a new term for many, so what does telehealth mean? Simply put, it is the action of providing care and advice while the provider and patient are not in the same room together. While most of us think that this primarily has impacted doctors, nurses are also now being asked to do much of their job via telehealth.

So how does this work and how can healthcare facilities make sure they are prepared to make this an easy process for nurses?

What is Telehealth Nursing?

While we have already defined what telehealth is, let’s talk about what it specifically means for nurses.

Nurses play such an important and critical role in our healthcare system. They are often the first and last person that a patient sees when they enter your facility for either a simple well appointment or for something much more specific. They are responsible for taking the initial notes about the patient, as well as checking the simple vital signs and triaging them so that the doctors can do their job more effectively

Now when it comes to telehealth, much of this stays the same. Nurses can now do the initial questioning of telehealth patients, ask about their symptoms, and make sure that your team has all the information before a telehealth appointment.

But it doesn’t stop there. Telehealth nursing also encompasses nurses’ lines where nurses are on call and can answer simple questions about medications, treatment plans, or symptoms so that the patients can get the information they need without needing a full appointment with a doctor as nurses are also trained to answer most medical-related questions. This takes the pressure off the doctors and allows nurses to provide amazing care to patients that might not need a full medical appointment.

Why Is Telehealth Nursing Important and What Are The Advantages?

The emergence of telehealth nursing is incredibly important in today’s medical world and has many advantages not just for your facility, but also for doctors, patients, and the nurses themselves.

COVID-19 Environment

The first clear advantage in today’s environment is with COVID-19 treatment. Most questions that patients have about COVID-19 can be answered by a nurse. This allows the patients to get much quicker answers to their questions without needing to come into your facility and possibly spread more infections.

On the opposite side. Telehealth nursing allows nurses that have tested positive for COVID-19 and cannot yet return to work to still contribute to the facility while still being able to quarantine and recover at home.

Easy Access To Help and Mobility

Both of these advantages during today’s COVID-19 environment don’t stop with the pandemic. The core advantages of easy access and being mobile with telehealth visits are still advantageous that will last long past the pandemic.

Studies have shown that 20% of all hospital visits could have been solved via telehealth. While that might not seem like a big number, reducing the number of patients by 20% could make or break a facility during busy times. For the patient, that means a far smaller hospital bill than they would have received with a trip to the ER while not losing anything in the way of their outcome.

Furthermore, telehealth nursing gives facilities access to different tools they might not have had before because nurses could answer patients’ questions from almost anywhere. This helps assist with things such as the nursing shortages we are seeing today. Overall, this means more resources and faster answers for patients with less of a strain on your facility’s resources.

What Technology Is Needed Or Useful In Telehealth Nursing?

While telehealth nursing seems like a no-brainer, it is not something that you can just start today without investing in the right technology to make the jobs of the nurses involved easier.

Telemedicine Exam Kits

One innovative solution that we are offering is our Telemedicine Exam Kits. These kits are specifically useful for home healthcare nurses and others that are on the move and visiting patients outside the facility. Making sure nurses have everything needed to be successful with their patient in one kit while also having the added benefit of telehealth technology helps them get the resources that they need in case they have an additional question out in the field.

Another application might be for places such as prisons, or retirement homes where they do not have instant access to a full medical team. Having a kit with a nurse on the other side of the line ready to ask questions could be a vital tool in making sure patients get the care they need.

Investing in your overall telehealth technology and program is also a great way to make sure not only nurses but your entire medical team have the technology they need to make patient care easier and reduce the number of people in your facility each day. We do this by helping you create medical technology carts that are unique to you and the needs of your patients!