A recent study reveals that nursing students’ interest in the profession has not lessened, despite being stressed and concerned about the future. Good news (and relief) for a healthcare workforce that needs some with attrition and burnout reaching record levels.
While there is a healthcare worker shortage, there is no shortage of grim statistics related to healthcare in the US. Media coverage frequently features the unfavorable conditions of nursing right now. Demands for safe staffing ratios, capping pay for travelers, and forced overtime may have students questioning their decision to enter the field of nursing. But a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing peeks into the psyche of nursing students and found that one cohort of nursing students are hopeful and confident they will be satisfied with their life in the future.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, researchers wanted to explore mental health, fulfillment, stress, media exposure, and student perceptions of pursuing a career in nursing. Karen Jennings Mathis, Ph.D., CNP-APRN, of the College of Nursing at the University of Rhode Island in Providence, tells MEDPAGE TODAY:
The overarching message is that nursing students are really still interested in pursuing this career path.’
With many nurses considering walking away from the profession due to the stress and strain from COVID-19 and increasing patient-staff ratios, it’s reassuring to hear that many nurses are entering the field because of COVID. Despite the dangers, risks, and challenges, associated with healthcare and nursing, many students repeatedly expressed the importance of nursing and their continued or increased interest in pursuing a nursing career.
Overall, students were positively influenced by seeing frontline nurses in media during the pandemic. The study found that a desire to help others and be part of a team positively influences students to pursue nursing as a career.
The Future of Nursing
Curious about other important takeaways that emerged from the study? Despite the interest and emotional pull into nursing, globally, students are expressing anxiety and concern about their safety and loved ones due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Journal of Clinical Nursing identified 55.6% of the respondents felt uncertain about the future, and 68.2% felt overwhelmed. Students are experiencing the harsh realities of working in healthcare. Healthcare is a calling that provides a greater purpose and sense of fulfillment, but natural strains come with it. Facilities and universities must focus on resilience strategies, provide mental health resources, and help nurses prioritize the longevity of careers.
What do you think? Please comment on this blog or in social media. Together we can all help find a better way forward that encourages more nurses to begin and continue careers in nursing.
Matchwell’s take? We admit there is a duality in nursing: helping others and sometimes putting yourself and loved ones at risk to do so. Mental health must be the focus now to preserve today’s workforce and protect the workforce of our future.