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Nurses seeking 'recharge' as omicron surge continues

Nurse COVID-19
Posted at 12:47 PM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 14:47:56-05

Burnout, staffing shortages, not enough pay, and verbal and physical abuse from patients are all problems that nurses faced in the workplace for years which have only been made worse by the pandemic.

Over the last two years, some hospitals have addressed these issues by raising wages and issuing panic buttons that provide assistance to nurses who feel like they are in a dangerous situation with a patient.

However, nurses say there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.

"We've stopped trying to figure out what's the end of the pandemic. It's just, how do we adjust to now versus holding onto this waiting for the end to come," said Jennifer Schmitz, the president of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA). "After two years, it feels like we just need to adapt now to be able to make some headway."

The ENA has been advocating for better conditions for health care workers since the start of the pandemic. Now, they're trying to get hospitals to focus more on resources that can help nurses handle those situations since they're not going away.

ENA says they're emphasizing a "recharge" for nurses.

"I think it links to how we keep our health care workers engaged and enjoying what they do, and kind of re-igniting that fire that they have to take care of people," Schmitz said.

Schmitz says hospitals should assess their staff and see what they need most. For some health care workers, higher pay may be required to help boost morale and ease feelings of burnout. For others, having better access to mental health services at work may be a more appropriate solution.