HJAR Mar/Apr 2020

HEALTHCARE JOURNAL OF ARKANSAS I MAR / APR 2020 19 planning. Leaders now recognize that nurses must have a seat at the table and a strong voice in the discussion to drive change, improve quality outcomes, and enhance the experience of both patients and team members. Williams Yes, at CHI St. Vincent we make sure that we are all focused on the patient. Every individual is viewed as an important teammember. CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs’ recent honor as a best place to work re- flects the culture that all team members are valued. What are currently the most important issues in nursing? Brackeen While there are many, one that is most concerning to me is “flight from the bedside.” The job opportunities available to nurses today are almost unlimited, and many are outside of traditional nursing roles. While this makes nursing an attrac- tive career from an opportunity perspective, it can create shortages in critical areas such as bedside nurses in acute care hospitals. It is very common for bedside (staff) RN’s with less than one year of nursing experience to enroll in advanced practice nurse training programs, and within two years move on to advanced practice roles. This contributes to an experience void at the bedside; instead of having a bedside nurse with three years of experience, they are likely to be replaced with another inexperienced nurse. I am not opposed to advanced practice nurses or anyone else furthering their edu- cation or acquiring new skills, but there is a critical need to retain experienced nurs- es at the bedside in these traditional roles. As the nurse leader in a small, rural, acute care community hospital, this is my great- est challenge. Diedrich One of the most vital issues in nursing is the number of nurses to meet the increasing demand. The opportunities for registered nurses expand well beyond the walls of a hospital. A registered nurse can work in a hospital, long term care, physician office, home health, hospital, or insurance company, and the list continues to grow. We are all competing for the same experienced nurses to care for our patients. Another chal- lenge to meeting the demand of nurses is the number of qualified applicants that are not accepted to associate degree programs and baccalaureate programs every year in Arkansas due to capacity restraints at the colleges and universities. There has been an increase in total students enrolled and grad- uating, but not enough to meet the demand. Green Recruitment and retention of nurses continues to be one of the biggest challeng- es nursing faces across the nation. As the nursing profession has grown tremendously, there is still the demand for more nurses, especially as baby boomers retire. Another important issue in nursing is healthcare vio- lence. As nurse leaders, we must maintain a culture of safety and work to decrease vio- lence against healthcare providers. Hickman The first and foremost important issues in nursing are the availability of quali- fied, competent nurses. With limited nurs- ing program faculty, it is more and more difficult in some areas of Arkansas to pro- duce enough RNs to add to the workforce each year. More and more RNs are pursuing higher degrees, includingAdvanced Practice RN, which leave vacancies at the bedside/ clinic. A second important issue in nursing is safety, both patient safety and workplace violence. Many articles have been published on workplace violence, and this issue is gaining national attention and legislation that places penalties on people who harm or are violent with a healthcare worker. This is long overdue, and should be addressed consistently between all facilities to take a stand for zero tolerance for violence in the workplace.