From: Lisa Eagans
State Director of Prelicensure Nursing, Western Governors University Indiana, College of Health Professions
Our healthcare workers are still feeling the pinch from the COVID-19 pandemic and some are choosing to leave the profession altogether, which in turn is worsening the situation for those who stay. When a patient’s condition is quickly deteriorating, our doctors and nurses rely on a “rapid response” team, which is made up of a specialized group of medical professionals to step in at an instant to provide additional support. At this point in time, these healthcare workers find themselves in need of a “rapid response” to help ease the burden they continue to carry from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortunately, our hospitals and state leaders have options to help rejuvenate and support our healthcare workers by re-evaluating how hospitals deliver care and providing accessible mentorship and career advancement opportunities.
Affordable and flexible education opportunities help retain and upskill talent within the healthcare field, especially for those who are entering the workforce in positions such as a licensed practical nurse or medical assistant. These professionals, even if they’re newer to the workforce, are oftentimes qualified to step in and support the nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, etc. By creating more opportunities for other healthcare workers to support and grow, we can help ease the workload across all roles.
While most healthcare systems would agree that mentorship is an important factor in preparing new professionals, the overall fatigue, staffing shortages and continued ramifications of the pandemic have made it more challenging to identify qualified nurses to serve as preceptors, or nurses who support the next generation of nurses by providing practical, useful feedback and encouraging critical thinking. Preceptor relationships serve a crucial role in guiding new nurses and we must explore how we can continue to provide this valuable experience for the industry given current resources.
Nurses and healthcare workers provide an essential lifeline for those in need, but their condition is crumbling and urgently needs a rapid response. Similarly to how specialized teams are equipped with tools and tactics to aid an ailing patient, we have solutions that can ease the burden on medical professionals so they can rest, recharge and come back in full force ready to continue healing Hoosiers.