The American healthcare industry needs a lot of improvement. Experts have spoken out against the many issues the hospital and healthcare complex has, such as hundreds of millions of people without insurance and the soaring costs of procedures or care. The events of 2020 have only highlighted the need for a more robust healthcare system and intense overhauling of medical policies on a state and federal level. One of the biggest challenges in the industry today is the lack of nursing jobs.
The Importance of Nurses
Nursing jobs comprise the largest healthcare profession in the United States, with more than 3.8 million registered nurses throughout the country. Nurses are some of the most important employees of any hospital or healthcare provider, handling patients’ prescription medication or overseeing their alternative medication plans.
Nurses see to the day-to-day operations that doctors don’t have the time or training to do. They provide essential assistance to their patients and other medical staff. In many ways, nurses bring empathy and compassion into a field that largely encourages dispassion in the name of objectivity.
But despite the importance of nursing jobs to the country’s healthcare industry, hospitals chronically understaff their nursing station. Nursing jobs for new grads can be hard to come by and the paychecks can be dismal after all the training on how to become a nurse.
If you’re having trouble securing a nursing job, perhaps you can angle your training to cater to emerging or popular trends in the industry. Two of these trends include jobs as nursing assistants and jobs as telehealth nurses.
Nursing Assistant Jobs
Nursing assistant jobs are some of the most intensive and empathetic careers in healthcare. Nursing assistants provide healthcare and personal care to patients living in long-term care facilities. These facilities include retirement facilities for older adults, assisted living communities for retirees or hospices for the terminally ill.
But nursing assistant jobs can also be found in facilities for the mentally ill, correctional institutions or for treatment centers for people coping with drug abuse. Nursing assistants have to provide personal grooming and hygiene as well as manage other aspects of healthcare for their charges. Take a look at the responsibilities involved and the core competencies required in this type of nursing job.
Nursing assistants have extremely varied responsibilities, depending on the needs of their patients. has different requirements from taking care of recovering substance abusers, and nursing assistant jobs have to be able to address all of them.
The following include some of the most prevalent responsibilities of a nursing assistant:
- Assist the elderly, infirm or impaired with putting on their clothes.
- Provide supervision and assistance to the patient while bathing.
- See to the feeding and nutrition of their charges if the patient is unable to do so.
- Track the vital signs, such as the temperature, pulse and blood pressure, of patients.
- Offer help with bowel and bladder care.
- Overseeing the safety and comfort of their charges.
- Providing guidance and supervision during rehabilitation, whether such rehabilitation is physical or medical in nature.
- Observing any changes in the patient’s health and behaviors, reporting such changes to a medical professional and documenting treatments or changes.
The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act or OBRA ’87 has required that anyone who wants to pursue nursing assistant job must be able to pass a test from their state regulating board and apply to be listed as a registered nurse in said state. They may also be a certified nursing assistant, a registered nursing assistant or a licensed nursing assistant.
Aside from the licenses and state regulations, this nursing job will also require the following core skills and abilities:
- You must be patient with your charges as conditions like senility, withdrawal and chronic pain can make patients uncooperative or diminish their capacities. They will require plenty of assistant and you must always be ready to offer it.
- You must have the perceptiveness to detect discomfort or sense a change in condition in your patients. Some of them may have difficulty verbalizing their status or be unresponsive and your perceptiveness can mean a lot.
- Your must have the ability to work long and often erratic hours. The elderly or people recovering from substance abuse require hours of supervision, even into the night. You must be committed to the work you do and the services you provide to be able to motivate yourself through these long hours.
- You must have empathy and compassion for your charges that exceeds the normal for a nursing job. Without a high level of empathy, you will have a hard time providing the care and attention they need.
Telehealth Nurse Jobs
Safety protocols and restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it increasingly necessary for people to turn to digital means of acquiring healthcare. Telehealth nursing jobs cater to this need by supplying patients with a digital alternative to in-clinic visits. This is one of the most popular forms of emerging nursing jobs because prior to the events of 2020, telehealth services were uncommon.
But telehealth nursing jobs are now crucial for keeping hospitals empty of all but the most crucial medical visits. They’re also vital in ensuring people who may not be able to travel to a hospital get the medical attention and supervision they need.
Although this is a relatively new branch of nursing jobs, the responsibilities of a telehealth nurse still run the gamut of what a regular nurse does. But there are several key differences to the duties expected of you should you pursue a telehealth nursing job.
- Provide appropriate and thorough patient assessment over digital media such as teleconferencing, phone calls and video calls.
- Offer educational information to patients requesting assistance regarding their health conditions, health management and dealing with symptoms.
- Occasionally provide effective counseling and crisis intervention to patients with mental disorders, experiencing emotional distress and other psychological episodes. The goal of this duty is to keep the patient stable and secure until more help can be applied.
- Be source of stability and information during a medical emergency. A telehealth nurse must be able to provide crisis intervention in such an event until paramedics or appropriate professionals can step in and take charge.
Just like every other nursing job, you must be a registered and licensed nurse if you want to pursue a career as a telehealth provider. However, a telehealth nursing job does have a few requirements that differentiate it from other areas of the field.
Below are some of the requirements and core competencies you should possess.
- Ideally, you should be certified in the field of telehealth nursing as the area has vastly different nuances and complications not covered in regular nursing training. You can acquire such certification from select learning and medical institutions.
- You must have patience with your patients. Communication over digital media can be challenging and distort or even disrupt your efforts. Or your patient may not be as hand with technology as you are. Your patience and diligence will be tested, and you must have ample reserves of both to deal with patients effectively.
- Your must possess great communication skills. Unlike with regular nursing jobs, you won’t be able to perform procedures or notice things on your own. You must be able to clearly and concisely relay instructions to patients over digital medium to provide effective medical attention.
- You should have plenty to training with the different digital media and channels you’ll be conducting your check-ups and procedures on. You may not have the luxury of time to call your hospital or clinic’s IT department in case of a program issue and you must be able to provide your own tech support if needed.
Nursing is one of the most vital and challenging careers in the medical field. But the help and compassion nursing jobs bring patients is essential. The two careers listed above are just a few ways the field has accommodated the needs of people in trying times. So if you’re looking for nursing jobs for new graduates, consider entering the nursing jobs above.