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What are the 7 biggest issues faced by Nurses in the UK?

An weary nursing staff sits in the corridor after a long shift.

What are the top seven nursing issues and how to overcome them?

Nurses play one of the most vital roles in the delivery of care in the healthcare industry in the UK. Nursing care became more common in public facilities than in private homes over the course of the 20th century. The quality of care, on the other hand, was uneven and primarily dependent on the hospital and nurses. With the passing of time, this issue was put in place after hospitals began providing their own training schools for nurses, giving the nurses a chance to learn on the job rather than at a university. 

Gender segregation in the sector and traditional beliefs that nursing is "women's work" were widespread issues in the later half of the 20th century. However, with the evolution of technology and industrialisation, the nursing profession began to expand beyond hospital walls. The challenges of nursing have evolved over time, and today nurses face a wide variety of issues that have a direct impact on the quality of care they provide. Preparing for such issues and learning how to address them professionally and personally can help nurses manage them more effectively. 

In this article, we discuss what nurse challenges are, common issues faced by nurses in the UK, and tips to overcome those nursing challenges. 

What are the current issues in nursing in the UK? 

Here are some of the current nursing issues: 

1. Overworked and underpaid: 

Many nurses in the UK believe that their pay/hourly rates are inadequate in comparison to the demands placed on them. Both care facilities and hospitals in the UK must comply with industry standards and regulations around nurse-to-patient ratios. If a nurse finds themselves working longer than they are supposed to or single-handedly doing the work of two nurses, it can affect the quality of care they provide. This nursing challenge can also put the health of nurses at risk, as exhaustion can set in quickly. 

One of the best ways to overcome this challenge is through communication. Healthcare facilities and hospitals should implement systems and practises to support nurses and healthcare workers so that their workload doesn't have a negative impact on the staff. Moreover, care settings should ensure that they create a positive environment and a rest area for the staff. Nurses can also negotiate with their employees regarding their pay rates and thus create a workplace culture where other nursing staff can raise concerns without fear of reprisal. 

2. Staff shortage: 

Nurses may experience more mandatory overtime because of inadequate staffing. When hospitals and care facilities don't have enough patient care professionals for a shift, they may require nurses to work longer hours or extra shifts. The UK is currently in a healthcare crisis due to shortage of nursing and healthcare staff to meet the needs of patients. This has led to an increase in workload for the existing staff, causing them to face burnout and other health issues. 

Nurses can talk to their employers about the nursing issues they are facing and get enough rest so that they can be prepared even when their work extends beyond. 

3. Long shifts: 

Nurses often work either 10- or 12-hour shifts in the UK. However, the possibility of this shift getting extended is high due to various reasons, including the shift change procedure, pending administrative tasks, or others. Working for such long hours can be physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing, which can further lead to burnout. It is impossible to bypass this long-hour shift extension; however, nurses can work towards preventing burnout. 

In order to maintain energy levels throughout your shift and beyond when necessary, nurses should make sure they get enough rest when they aren't working. Nursing professionals should ask their friends or family to assist them with personal activities so that they can spend more time resting and recharging between shifts. 

4. Shift cancellation: 

If a nursing professional is an independent nurse in the UK who is not working under any nursing agency in the UK or for the NHS, chances are high that they may encounter a situation where their shifts are cancelled at the last moment. This can happen for many reasons, such as alternatives found elsewhere or internal staff filling the shortage. 

To avoid such situations, nurses can build a strong rapport with their employers so that they can state their concerns and prevent such situations from reoccurring. Furthermore, it will help employers trust the nurse, and nurses can get better nursing job opportunities

5. Stress and professional burnout: 

Long hours of shifts, a lack of proper rest, and extended night shifts can adversely affect a nursing staff. Nurses in the UK often experience burnout and fatigue due to long hours of highly demanding shifts and back-to-back shifts. This is one of the most common problems nurses and healthcare facilities encounter and the main reasons for mishaps such as medical errors while on duty. Trying to avoid such nursing issues is the best way to safeguard patients while protecting the overall quality of care, job loss for nurses, and a variety of other negative outcomes 

6. Changing technology: 

Technological advances in healthcare can require nurses to learn new software, programmes, and equipment frequently. Learning new systems can be challenging for nurses and healthcare workers who aren't familiar with technology, especially when added to an already demanding job. To help you feel comfortable with new technology, make it a point to attend the training classes provided by the facility or ask for additional training in case you are not able to cope with the technology. Clarify all your doubts until you are confident enough to use them independently. 

7. Workplace safety and security: 

Nurses in the UK face additional challenges through workplace hazards in a hospital or clinical environment. As nurses come into direct contact with sick people, their risk of exposure to someone with an infectious illness is much higher than that of the general public. Thus, this is one of the serious issues nursing professionals face. To prevent the infection, nurses should take precautions and indulge in self-care. 

These are just some of the issues faced by nurses in the UK. To keep these issues from compromising a nurse's personal life, they should take the required steps alongside their employers. Nurses Group, UK addresses these issues to ensure the safety of our agency nurses are never dangling by a thread. We value our agency nurses and strive to give them with the finest available career options. 

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