Nursing Profession: Health and Economic Issues

The nursing personnel is usually responsible for managing the health problems of the rest of society. However, there is a significant background that defines the actual tendencies for the profession. Firstly, while nurses are prime executors of the medical system’s objections, they are not entirely protected from the health issues in their personal life. On the contrary, according to Sarafis et al. (2016), “Nursing is perceived as a strenuous job with high and complicated demands” (p. 1), so their responsibilities contain specific risks that can become dangerous in the future. Secondly, one should not forget that nursing remains a component of the always shifting labor market, which is why it also obeys specific laws of economics.

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Regarding the first perspective, the research must focus on the health-related problems which affect nurses because of the job. They primarily include the effect on the bodily nervous system, as well as the circulatory system. All the challenges are caused by the repeated stress suffered during the day. Such a process involves emotional burnout and homeostasis imbalance as the essential components. Thus, the specific questions for the inquiry should be the following:

  • In which way does nursing stress influence the nervous and circulatory systems?
  • What are the harmful effects on both systems?
  • What are the recommendations on reversing or preventing them?

The second perspective covers the economic processes where the nursing profession is involved. Firstly, one should mention the wage role as a tool for increasing or decreasing the motivation of workers. Secondly, the demand for the job on the labor market also should be considered as a significant correlation. For the inquiry, one needs to answer the following questions:

  • How exactly can the wage shift increase or decrease motivation?
  • Which shift would be the best for opening a way to improvement?
  • What are the main trends of the demand for nursing as a job?
  • Which changes positively influence the demand and quantity correlation?

Nursing Stress: Systems Under the Pressure

While on duty, nurses undergo significant pressure on their mental health, due to the moral influence of the patient and the fellow staff. For example, Levert, Lucas, and Ortlepp state that the repeated contact of emotional nature between nurses and patients is one of the factors that cause the matter burnout (as cited in Khamisa, Peltzer, Ilic, & Oldenburg, 2016). It is only one of the multiple risks that appear since the stress tends to accumulate throughout the job. As a result, the nurses’ nervous system suffers the most because of the accumulation, which poses a danger both for physical and psychological health.

Firstly, according to Mariotti (2015), “It has been shown that chronic stress is linked to macroscopic changes in certain brain areas” (p. 2). In other words, the physical condition of the brain under the constant stress-inducing environment cannot entirely tolerate the harmful influence. Secondly, not only the mind suffers, but also the organism’s pathways, including the immunity system and the flow of blood within the organs. In the end, the changes lead to several damaging illnesses, which can be divided into two areas. Those are the following: higher risks of certain diseases and, in the psychological part, the state of depression.

The most significant dangers among these diseases, as the researchers state, include atherosclerosis and depression (Mariotti, 2016). The first one is caused by the blood accumulation in certain parts of the brain and blood vessels. It is deemed as a chronic disease that can additionally lead to even more dangerous heart problems, due to the blood stagnation in certain parts of the body. The second one comes from the intense pressure on the nerve cells of the brain and the entire system, although, according to Mariotti (2016), the chemical mechanics are still not clearly defined. The depression not only affects the effectiveness of work but the general attitude in life. According to Khamisa et al. (2016), it can range from “feeling worthless” to “feeling that life is not worth living” (p. 540). The stress is partially responsible for emotional burnout as well, although the relationship may not be considered direct. As such, the researchers state that additional job demands aside from the work-related stress typically become the leading cause of personal burnout among nurses (Khamisa et al., 2016).

With the array of negative results one can notice, it is necessary to define the possible measures of prevention and intervention. While burnout somewhat stands apart, countermeasures against the phenomenon can help in reducing the constant stress as well. According to Woodhead, Northrop, and Edelstein (2014), one of the measures includes the increase of the social support, oriented both personally and organizationally, in the form of training within the staff and the strategies of enhancing the outside backup. While these tactics might prove useful, the possible measures can be expanded. For example, one should also reduce the emotional burden on the nurses by using the staff shifts in the most extreme cases or provide additional opportunities for leisure.

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Economics Side of Nursing: Wage Influence and Demand Dynamics

The nursing job still obeys some economic laws, despite its distinctive features. More specifically, the quality of the employees is directly connected to the financial factors, as well as the commitment to the job. Moreover, nursing stands as one of the numerous pieces of the labor market, so it is affected by the changing dynamics of the said market. In fact, according to Phelps (2016), the hospitals and by proxy their employees complete for an input “just as firms in any industry do” (p. 255). The input subsequentially defines the demand for the employees, and vice versa, due to their mutual connection.

In the case of the wage issue, on the one hand, the financial well-being of the employee or the lack of it either enhances or diminishes the motivation for further work. However, the relationship between wage and motivation may not be completely proportional. According to the study of Fedele (2017), the simple increase of the salary diminishes the motivation, so the researcher proposes to make an emphasis on the reward system application instead. In other words, it means that the wage can even be decreased, while the rewarding bonuses, set in their place, compensate the loss and serve as a motivation tool at the same time. Perhaps, the reward program might be not the only solution, since one can increase the wage flexibility by connecting it to the employees’ achievements even further.

On the other hand, the labor market corrects the number of employees depending on the actual circumstances. According to Phelps (2017), the examples of the USA market indicate the demand’s increase depending on the rise of the hospital’s price, the fall of the quality, or the growth of the patients’ insurance. Although the said factors are significant enough to shift the employees’ quantity, they might be extended to the level of financial support from the state or the process of deploying technological advancements. Thus, the nursing job should become more demanded when complemented by the reasonable price for care, improved quality and technology, and the relatively high patients’ insurance.

Conclusions

In the end, the research served for the exploration of several issues related to health and economics that are advantageous or harmful for nursing. Firstly, nurses remain prone to mental pressure due to the constant emotional interaction with their patients. The tension becomes a direct cause for the disorder of the circulatory and, what is more important, the nervous system. Hence, the most burdening consequences include the development of chronic atherosclerosis, depression, and, partially, emotional burnout. To avoid or interfere with the issues, one needs to decrease the amount of strain on the personnel. It could be accomplished by providing more social support outside the hospital, encouraging it among the employees, or giving more opportunities for leisure.

Secondly, the quality and quantity of the nursing employees are related to two economic factors, namely the wage and the demand on the labor market. The former one influences the nurses’ motivation, but the link is not proportional. Thus, the quality of care can be enhanced by providing and deepening a reward system instead of wage growth. The latter adjusts the number of nurses depending on the hospitals’ prices, the quality of care, and the clients’ insurance. For the demand progress, one needs reasonably high costs and insurance, as well as steady improvement of quality and technological advancements.

References

Fedele, A. (2017). Well-paid nurses are good nurses. Health Economics, 27(4), 663-674.

Khamisa, N., Peltzer, K., Ilic, D., & Oldenburg, B. (2016). Work related stress, burnout, job satisfaction and general health of nurses: A follow-up study. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 22(6), 538-545.

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Mariotti, A. (2015). The effects of chronic stress on health: New insights into the molecular mechanisms of brain–body communication. Future Science OA, 1(3). 1-6.

Phelps, C. E. (2016). Health economics. London, England: Routledge.

Sarafis, P., Rousaki, E., Tsounis, A., Malliarou, M., Lahana, L., Bamidis, P., … Papastavrou, E. (2016). The impact of occupational stress on nurses’ caring behaviors and their health related quality of life. BMC Nursing, 15(1), 1-9.

Woodhead, E. L., Northrop, L., & Edelstein, B. (2014). Stress, social support, and burnout among long-term care nursing staff. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 35(1), 84-105.

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