Top Patient Care Challenges in Nursing

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 Nursing is an in-demand profession with amazing potential for career advancement but can sometimes be challenging. As a nurse, your job is to provide the highest level of care you can for every patient. Of course, no matter how great a nurse you are, there are times when the patient care challenges you must face make it much harder or even impossible to provide the level of care you would like to.

Here are a few of the most common challenges.

 Inadequate staffing

The medical industry has faced staff shortages for many years. COVID-19 made this even more apparent. While hospitals and other facilities are taking steps to recruit qualified medical staff, there is only so much they can do with a limited amount of job applicants.

Some regions have a more challenging time than others in attracting new nurses. In this case, those who can afford to offer extra incentives such as sign-on bonuses and help with relocation expenses.

Nurses working at facilities in need of more staff can face a heavier workload during a shift or may have to take on additional tasks that would typically be delegated to a lower-level staff member.

At times of high patient capacity, nurses may have to provide care for more patients per nurse on shift while still offering a high level of care.

 Language barriers and cultural awareness issues

With many areas becoming more diverse, language barriers can be more of an issue when treating patients. While a lot of medical workers know the value of being bilingual and have taken steps to learn the most common second language in their area, there are many other languages out there. When a patient is admitted who speaks a language that the nursing staff is unfamiliar with, it can be difficult to understand what they are trying to express. This can lead to delays in some areas of care or contacting loved ones. Translation machines and translators can help but may not always be available.

Awareness of customs and culture is a solid foundation to have, but no one can have knowledge of every type of culture or religious custom, so there can be challenges that occasionally pop up. Some religious customs may make it more difficult to treat some conditions as effectively.


Ethical dilemmas of patient care

Every person has their own personal moral and ethical code. This does not always coincide with the ethics and practices that are required of those in the medical community. A nurse may not think a patient or a doctor is making the correct medical decision but will still have to help out with a practice or procedure. Some nurses deal with this by making sure they only work at facilities that closely match their personal code of ethics and morals.

If you are just starting your career and have strong feelings about some of the ethics and morals of modern medicine, it is important to research any facility you are applying at to make sure you are a good match before starting a career there.


Leadership issues

There is a demand for strong nursing leaders that is not being met. It can be hard for nurses to work at their full potential without proper leadership. If you are ready to take on a higher-level position, then you should consider a Baylor University online degree. The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is a great way to advance your career and create a positive change in the medical community.

Students can choose a DNP program with a concentration in nurse leadership, family practice or neonatal care. All of these specialties offer amazing career opportunities.

Lack of medical supplies or equipment

Unfortunately, there are sometimes shortages of specific medical supplies and medications. This means nurses must be very careful to avoid waste, or they may need to use alternative medications to treat a condition. There may be times when a nurse waits longer to use a specific medical supply just to make sure it is only used if absolutely needed.

Advising other staff to be frugal with some supplies and medications can be difficult. If patients are aware of shortages, this can make them uneasy and concerned about the quality of care they are receiving.

In extreme cases, a shortage of medical equipment could mean delaying a procedure, thus requiring a longer treatment plan or hospitalization.

patient care challenges

Poor communication and record keeping during patient care

A lot is going on at a busy medical facility. Without a good communication and record-keeping system, things can quickly become disorganized and stressful. All medical facilities and doctor offices must make an effort to ensure a modern and up-to-date method for doctors and patients to stay updated on treatment plans, appointments and more.

While typing in every single note about a patient’s care may seem tedious at times, it is essential to make sure that something important is not overlooked. Having an easy-to-use record keeping system that updates in real-time makes it easier to provide a high level of patient care.

Stress and burnout

During especially busy times, nurses may start to feel overworked, stressed and have symptoms of burnout. Those that worked at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic experienced these feelings regularly. Nurses can overcome some of these feelings by taking some time each day to do something that is just for them. Even just having a hot beverage and reading or watching a relaxing show in the evenings can be a major help.

Separating work and home life can be difficult, but it is essential for maintaining relationships with family members and not dwelling too much on the emotional toil that can occur during times when you are treating a lot of very sick people.

 Conclusion on patient care challenges

Although nurses face challenges every day, it is still a rewarding and fulfilling career that helps a lot of people lead better and healthier lives.

It is important to remember that many challenges nurses face are often temporary. All the challenges discussed in this article will not likely present themselves all at once.

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