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  • 28 February 2022
  • 8 min read

3 Nursing Challenges & How To Overcome Them

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  • Laura Pueyo
    Band 7 Bed Manager
    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Nkechi Jessica Owuamanam
  • 0
  • 805
“Nursing might be very challenging, as you can see but that feeling when you overcome challenges like this cannot be bought.”

Laura takes us through three challenges you will face as a Nurse and gives advice on how to overcome them.

Topics Covered In This Article

Introduction

Inadequate Staffing And Nursing Shortage

Overwork And Long Working Hours

Dealing With “Difficult” Patients

Conclusion

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Introduction

Hi guys, my name is Laura and I am a Nurse from the NHS.

Today I will explore with you 3 Challenges Nurses will face and how to overcome them.

Nursing is an extremely rewarding career but also this career path comes with challenges that many Nurses experience along their work life.

I think that to be ready for these situations and to learn how to address them can help to manage them better in case it happens.

For Nurses that are watching this video, this is just to let you know you are not alone facing this situations and if you are an aspiring Nurse, I think having an idea about this side of the career might help you to be ready.

What I mean by Nursing challenges are the difficult situations or experiences that are common in our professions.

In this video I will talk about challenges for Nurses that work on the wards. So let`s start with the most common one!

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Inadequate Staffing And Nursing Shortage

Who hasn´t arrived to the shift to find out that your ward or service is short of staff?

This happens in almost every country and in every hospital.

Staff shortage usually can be caused by unexpected reasons like sick leave, personal reasons, cancellations from the staff of the agency or seasonal pressures.

Although it can be impossible to control and completely eradicate Nursing shortages, if you work on the ward, the best way to act is to reallocate the patients to the Nurses available including the Nurse in charge and plan your day properly trying to prioritize as much as possible.

Of course, escalate the situation, as usually your manager or Matron will offer a shift to an agency or other staff member.

When I was working on the ward when we were short of staff, we used to allocate patients to our Nurse in charge, and when I was the Nurse in charge and I had to look after my patients and be in charge of the ward, it was extremely challenging and busy.

However, I learned a lot how to manage my time.

While someone can see it as overwork, we should see it as a possibility to become more resilient.

On top of all that, your effort will be noticed by your manager and at least in my experience they try to support you as much as possible.

On top of all that, your effort will be noticed by your manager and at least in my experience they try to support you as much as possible.

The second challenge I would like to mention is:

Overwork And Long Working Hours

Nurses often work 12 hour shifts, and after all the tasks we do on our shift and handover, these shifts frequently end up being even longer.

Working such long hours can be physically and mentally tiring, it can affect the quality of care we provide and it can lead to burnout.

Nurses have to remember to use our full break and use it to rest, recharge and unwind.

I think communication is key in this career and employers should be supporting their Nurses by creating a positive and healthy working environment.

Nurses should be rewarded for the work we do so, maybe also communicate with your manager if you are staying longer hours, they will help you to find a solution.

You can also try to negotiate improvements and pay rates with your employer.

Therefore, you are helping to create a workplace culture where healthcare workers can raise concerns.

Also, I think a great way to deal with these long hours is to communicate with your colleagues, you know we are all working on the same boat, so if you have a good relation with your colleagues, they can be one of the best things of your job.

You will be able to share the load with them and also they will be able to help you.

In my experience, when we have been extremely busy and the whole team were staying longer, we used to communicate, do staff meetings in the middle of the day, sharing problems, pending things to do and eventually most of the times we were able to support each other. As Nurses, we have to prioritize but most of the tasks must be done anyway.

For example, I remember one day on my Haematology ward, it was a normal day; busy but manageable. Although by around 1pm, after the staff meeting when the breaks were ongoing, one of my patients had an adverse reaction quite severe. I had to be with the patient but also I had to give the medication to the rest of my patients and as well, I had patients on Chemotherapy, so by the time I finished with my sick patient, I thought, "okay I am just going to die of hunger, because last time I ate was at 6 am and maybe was 4pm; but I have to do the Chemotherapies and the delayed medications", but guess what?

My great colleagues already did everything for me and literally they forced me to go on my break as all my patients were already sorted!

So, in my opinion your colleagues are the ones that will save your day and as I said is one of the best things of this job.

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Dealing With “Difficult” Patients

Being a Nurse means that we look after people when they are at their worst, so we sometimes come to face-to-face with patients with emotional outburst of anger. We can improve patient outcome by:

- Improving our abilities to understand anger

- learn and become aware of what is going on in someone else mind when they are upset

- and being able to handling these situations.

Being hospitalized or needing unexpected care is scary, and can lead a patient to have exaggerated emotional responses to the situation they are suffering.

On top of that, sickness and medication can have side effects and that can lead to confusion and anxiety.

Keep in mind that one of the most valuable skills that a Nurse can have is the ability to deal with difficult patients and being able to resolve conflict in a positive way.

Although, is not easy.

But how we deal with “difficult” patients?

Firstly, by not taking it personally.

Always try to remember that it´s not about you, it will be easier for you deal with difficult patients this way.

Always try to remember that it´s not about you, it will be easier for you deal with difficult patients this way.

Patients who are upset or angry they are reacting to their situation no to you. It iss quite important to remain calm because nothing is going to worsen an already difficult situation more than answering in the same way to an agitated patient.

Have empathy.

Put yourself in their shoes, demonstrate that you understand how they feel by listening to them with patience, and try to act free of judgment and always with respect.

Watch your body language.

For me this is hard, I am Spanish and with our gestures we say a lot in our culture, so in the heat of the moment lose the track of my gestures and facial expressions can be very easy, at least for me.

When your body and your face say one thing and your voice is saying a different thing, it will be difficult for a patient to trust you, for a patient and to anyone.

But never forget to establish boundaries It is vital to reject any abuse coming form a patient.

A patient should not be aggressive towards you in any way, if so, maybe you need to step away, give them a moment to calm down and let them know that their abuse is just not acceptable.

Again your colleagues will be the best ones to ask for help or assistance. Remember you are always allowed to take a break and we have to take care of ourselves to be able to take care of our patients.

It might be challenging to face a patient like this but learning to deal with these situations are just going to help you to be a better Nurse and person.

Conclusion

Nursing might be very challenging, as you can see but that feeling when you overcome challenges like this can´t be paid with money.

These sort of feelings when after struggling, you manage are just one of the reasons why I am a Nurse and I encourage everyone to explore this career, because while being a Nurse you will learn to improve oneself.

Also, you have nurses.co.uk to inform yourself about this world. And, don't forget The Academy. A new programme of career coaching specifically designed by Nurses.

Thank you so much for watching this video and have a good day.

About the author

  • Laura Pueyo
    Band 7 Bed Manager

I’m a Spanish nurse who’s been working in London for 5 years. After starting my career as a staff nurse in Spain I moved to London to specialise in Haematology, as it’s always been my passion. I’m now working as the haematology bed manager, where my job is to manage the bed capacity of the department and lead the patient flow.

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  • Laura Pueyo
    Band 7 Bed Manager

About the author

  • Laura Pueyo
    Band 7 Bed Manager

I’m a Spanish nurse who’s been working in London for 5 years. After starting my career as a staff nurse in Spain I moved to London to specialise in Haematology, as it’s always been my passion. I’m now working as the haematology bed manager, where my job is to manage the bed capacity of the department and lead the patient flow.

    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Nkechi Jessica Owuamanam
  • 0
  • 805

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