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The Top Concerns of Chief Nursing Officers

top concerns of chief nursing fficers

In order to perform well as a nurse, employees must be compassionate by truly understanding and caring for their patients.  The profession is, after all, one of the most trusted professions, according to a yearly poll releases in the United States.  The great reputation of nursing as a career choice does. howeer, come with its hiccups.  A recent article posted to an online site by the name of Fierce Healthcare exposed the startling truth of the growing concerns felt by chief nursing officers as the new year approaches.  The potentially problematic factors within the hospital walls was highlighted following a chief nursing officer meeting conducted by Brian Hudson, senior vice president of Avant Healthcare Professionals. 

Hudson was accompanied with a variety of leaders, of which the article says included, “nurse leaders from Southside Regional Medical Center in Virginia, Citrus Memorial Hospital in Florida, Cornerstone Healthcare Group in Texas, Carilion Clinic in Virginia, Coliseum Hospital in Georgia, Conroe Regional Medical Center in Texas and Great Plains Regional Medical Center in Oklahoma.”

The objective of the discussion was to bring some light to the biggest problems that each hospital in the area was facing, as well as the concerns that face each employer in 2018.  One of the first steps in the pursuit to alleviate these concerns included the act of identifying these said problems, of which was done following the “round table” discussion led by Hudson.  From here on out, one of the most vital actions needing to be done, of which may be apparent for the hospital staffs, is for these problems to have corresponding solutions. 

Once each of the respective hospital staffs is able to create a proper plan by which they can follow, only then will the chief nursing officers and their staffs will be able to execute the fixes.  Without this, serious repercussions could arise that put the very functioning of each hospital in jeopardy.

Of the roadblocks each chief nursing officer was facing, one included the problem of what the article previously mentioned deemed “professional disengagement among staff.”  This problem was said to have occurred amongst the hospital staffs because of the difficult demands for the nurses, which is often accompanied by long hours.  As a result, nurses are getting bogged down and developing unwanted stress in their day to day tasks. 

Another concern of the chief nursing officers included the consistent turnover rate of the hospital's chief executive officers.  The article discusses this point of concern when it states that, “For the third consecutive year, hospital CEO turnover remains at 18%, according to a report by the American College of Healthcare Executives. Continuous consolidation of healthcare organizations and retiring leaders from the baby boomer era are influencing these turnover rates.”  This being the case, there has been a direct, negative impact on the nursing staffs.  Most of the employees are often left unsure of how to further proceed, as the leading positions of the hospitals is constantly changing.  This can present a multitude of problems for hospitals, of which do not need any more uncertainty than there already is in some areas.

One vital point of concern for all of the chief nursing officers included the low levels of retention.  It was identified that this was due to the fact that the hours being demanded are often unwanted, especially for nurses with more experience.  The Fierce Healthcare article points this problem out when it mentions that, “Location, competitive salaries and high competition for nurses are a few hurdles that hospitals face in nurse recruitment.”  A variety of solutions are available for the given problem, and will ultimately depend on the desired candidates hospitals are looking to hire (whether it be a nurse fresh out of nursing school or a seasoned veteran in the world of nursing).  An interesting point that the article discusses on behalf of the retention issues within the hospitals includes the fact that nurses are simply moving away from hospitals more quickly, as they look towards other organizations as potential workplaces.  Tamara Matin-Linnard, the chief nursing officer of the Great Plains Regional Medical Center pointed out that, “They [the nurses] stay for two years and then they are on to the next opportunity.”

Yet another point that has been frustrating for the chief nursing officers includes the fact that often times the negative byproduct of supplying more seasoned nurses more flexible hours is that there is a lack of experience seen in the evening shifts.  On this given topic Hudson states that, “This leads hospitals to frequently assign less experienced nurses to manage operations in the evenings, which creates a chaotic environment.”  The very nature of a hospital can be chaotic, so this problem could very well be detrimental to an otherwise smooth functioning evening shift.

Solution for nursing staffs

In order to best combat the concerns facing the chief nursing officers, a completely different approach will be required.  This is said to mean that the traditional approaches to alleviating these problems has not been working, so the introduction of new and more innovative approaches must be used.  One of the first problems discussed above included the “professional disengagement among staff” as the article phrased it.  The proposed solution included the improvement of how the respective staffs are engaged during their day to day tasks and responsibilities.  This could be taken to mean the type of work that is dispersed amongst the staff, as well as the amount of work that is assigned to each nurse.  In doing so, nurses could very well feel less stressed and overworked.

In addition to the apparent disengagement amongst staffs, the Fierce Healthcare article spoke of the high turnover rate for employees in the executive positions.  This may be a more difficult problem to handle, however some method, such an incentive program, could very well keep the executives at whatever healthcare facility they help to oversee. 

Another key problem (one that could possibly be better addressed) includes the recruitment and retention of nurses, especially those of whom are veterans in the career.  The fix can include a better distribution of work loads, so as to create a balance work schedule for the nurses. 

In addition to this, the problem of evening shifts failing to have the proper experienced staff present can utilize this too.  Care should be taken in terms of who is scheduled for each particular night  shift, with a main focus of ensuring that at least one of the more experienced nurses is working this shift.  By making these necessary changes, each of the chief nursing officers encountering problems can better improve their respective concerns in the year to come, creating a more productive workplace for all who are involved.