4 Ways To Ensure the Health and Safety of Your Nursing Staff

It’s impossible to run a healthcare facility without proper nursing staff. Here are four ways to ensure their healthy and safety.

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It’s impossible to run a healthcare facility without proper nursing staff. Due to the rigors of the job, nurses tend to overexert themselves and are constantly at risk of burnout and fatigue. Nurses work round the clock to tend to their patient’s needs and provide them with the best possible care under supervision. Furthermore, they advise their patients to adopt habits that promote their quality of life after treatment.

Many hospitals around the US are critically understaffed, especially since the onslaught of COVID-19. It leads to nurses working too hard to exhaustion and fatigue. The management must ensure the well-being and welfare of the nursing staff because if this problem persists, it can have a lasting effect on their performance and even lead to turnover.

How to Prevent Nurse Fatigue

An exhaustive work routine can have devastating consequences for the nurses and their patients. A balanced work schedule is the best remedy to prevent nurse fatigue and over-exhaustion. Competent hospital management can significantly improve service quality while also ensuring the safety and morale of their nursing staff. To become a capable leader, positively impact your nursing staff, and drive change in healthcare, expertise is necessary. You can easily enroll yourself in a health administration degree online to gain the expertise to run a healthcare facility efficiently.

Tips To Prevent Nurse Fatigue

Nurses tend to work themselves past exhaustion due to several reasons, but the biggest reason is incompetent management. As a healthcare administrator, you should be concerned about your nursing staff because it’s their fundamental right. In this article, we will be looking at ways you can prevent nurse fatigue.

1. Balanced Work Schedules

Nurses tend to overwork and neglect their well-being for the sake of their patients. And the management’s insistence on working longer shifts and overtime puts them and their patients’ life in jeopardy. According to the American Nurses Association report, 12% of nurses have trouble staying awake behind the wheels due to nursing fatigue. They recommend a 40-hour workweek for professional nurses as it allows them to take a well-deserved break and work consistently without overexerting them. However, stats show an awful reality where more than 50 percent of registered nurses work shifts longer than 12 hours, with many working without any breaks and workloads that exceed their comfort level. Introduce a balanced work schedule, allowing the nurses to have time for themselves and their well-being throughout the day.

2. Responsible Management

Responsible management of your nursing staff and maintaining your staffing levels are crucial to preventing nursing fatigue. One of the most common reasons nurses work themselves beyond exhaustion is understaffing. Management should never allow their nurses to work longer shifts and accommodate schedules according to their comfort levels. Plus, incentivizing overtime does no good as it encourages nurses to work past exhaustion resulting in nursing errors that can put a patient’s life at risk.

You should protect your nursing staff by making positive changes in their environment and promoting a safe culture. A regular, predictable schedule will allow nurses to arrange their work and personal obligations and eliminate the need for required overtime. Nurses should be able to accept or reject job assignments according to their working capacity and comfort level. Workweeks should be no longer than 40 hours, and days should not exceed 12 hours. Staff should take rest breaks and distribute the work evenly throughout the week. If nurses cannot drive home because of exhaustion, accommodations should be made for them to rest.

3. Limit Overtime And Overwork

Limiting overtime is an essential aspect of your role as a healthcare administrator. Create work plans that don’t enforce overtime on your employees and minimize stress and fatigue by reducing adjustments to their schedule and allocating at most 12-hour shifts. Plus, cap the number of days nurses can work in a row, mainly if they perform for 12-hour hours. In addition, adequate staffing can help prevent the need for overtime.

4. Raise Awareness And Educate Your Nurses

It’s essential to educate your employees on the dangers of nursing fatigue and the need to get enough sleep. Nursing professionals should realize the importance of their well-being as it can also implicate their patients. It would help if you also encouraged them to speak up when they feel they are working themselves to exhaustion and accommodate changes to their schedule. When assessing unfavorable outcomes, you should investigate the possibility of your nursing staff experiencing fatigue.

Some ways you can help your staff include:

  • Accommodate changes to their schedule when they say they need a break or cannot work a shift.
  • Introduce healthy breaks in their schedule so that they can relax.
  • Monitor your employees for signs of fatigue, and if tired, provide them some time off to recharge.

Conclusion

Nurses hold a position where their needs can get neglected as their welfare lies in the hand of management, more so when working in an understaffed facility. Longer shifts and understaffed facilities are the disastrous ingredients for nursing fatigue. Nurse employers need to up their game to ensure the well-being of their employees. A comfortable work schedule, eliminating overtime, and maintaining adequate staffing levels can help. Take our tips into consideration and prioritize the welfare of your employees.

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