Nurses work long hours and deal with a lot of stress in their line of work. Still, most nurses couldn’t imagine doing any other kind of work. It’s fulfilling and challenging, perfect for compassionate people who want to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Still, the world of nursing is far from perfect. Many nurses face discrimination from their colleagues or patients, which can cause lasting emotional harm and make people feel unsafe in the workplace. This is one of many reasons that prioritizing quality nurse leaders in clinical settings is so important.
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Social Concerns in the Medical Field
Everyone needs healthcare and nurses will typically work with patients from a huge range of backgrounds and different demographics. While most patients are respectful and grateful to those caring for them, others can be demanding or discriminatory. Nurses deserve to be treated with respect, especially when they are putting their heart and soul into caring for patients.
Patients may also face discrimination when they are in the hospital or doctor’s office. Some healthcare providers make harmful assumptions based on stereotypes and unconscious biases, which causes them to provide substandard care. These known health disparities lead to worse care and outcomes for large segments of the American population.
These kinds of discrimination in nursing, combined with the stressful nature of hospital work, can lead to toxic environments and employee burnout. Patients may not feel comfortable with the care they’re getting and nurses may suffer due to poor treatment from patients and fellow healthcare professionals.
Types of Discrimination
Discrimination is a huge problem in the healthcare industry, for both nurses and patients. Some types of discrimination that occur within the industry include:
- Discrimination due to sexual orientation
- Cultural discrimination
Many nurses are not trained in culturally competent care, which can lead to poor communication and bad feelings between patients and caregivers. Trust and communication are key for healthy nurse-patient interactions, but these break down quickly when discrimination or misunderstandings occur.
How Quality Nursing Leaders Can Help
Some nurses feel like they don’t have much support, especially in navigating difficult social issues that may come up with other nurses or patients. Having a skilled leader for nurses to turn to can be a huge boost for morale and working conditions. They can lobby for improved policies when necessary and speak up for nurses who have been mistreated by patients or their peers.
A quality nursing leader sets the tone for the team. They will insist on high standards for ethics and provide clear communication about policies and expectations that removes guesswork and stress for nurses. Additionally, they will guide professional development and help nurses learn cultural competence so they can better serve patients of all backgrounds.
Nursing leaders will also help to ensure that nurses don’t get burned out by taking on too much or working schedules that benefit the hospital but take their toll on the nurse’s well-being. A quality leader will schedule shifts to allow nurses enough time to rest and recharge before they return to work.
Diverse Leadership Matters
Nursing leaders should have strong practical skills and impeccable ethics. They should also represent the diversity found within the nursing staff and patient base to ensure that patients and nurses receive respect and support regardless of their background.
Diversity is beneficial in any professional setting. Working side by side with people who have a range of different backgrounds helps nurses to develop greater empathy and provide better patient care. Nurse leaders play a role in diversity efforts, weighing in on hiring decisions and helping to promote the benefits of diversity in nursing.
Creating a Safe and Welcoming Environment for Patients and Nurses
Patients who enter the hospital are often scared or concerned about their health. Nurses can help to ease these fears by promoting trust and proper communication. However, they can only be effective if they feel safe and supported in the work environment.
Hospital administrators need to prioritize quality leadership for nurses. It’s a smart business move that can reduce turnover and burnout while improving overall care and patient outcomes. While it does take some effort to recruit effective and diverse leaders, it’s well worth the extra time and expense.
Creating a safe and welcoming environment improves an organization’s image among prospective employees and patients. For a hospital to succeed and thrive, the nursing staff must be ethical, compassionate, empathetic, and culturally competent. Employees are healthcare’s greatest assets, and ensuring that they are happy and protected at work starts with hiring quality nurse leaders for their incredible social impact.