March 28, 2024

The Heart of Healthcare: Bedside Nursing & The Future of Nurses at the Bedside

Three bedside nurses in blue scrubs stand around a patient in a hospital bed.

What is bedside nursing?

At the core of healthcare, the term "bedside nursing" encapsulates the compassionate and hands-on care provided by nurses directly at the patient's bedside. Beyond the medical treatments and procedures, bedside nursing is about forming a connection with patients, understanding their needs, and delivering holistic care. It involves monitoring vital signs, administering medications, offering emotional support, and collaborating with the healthcare team to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. Bedside nursing is a dynamic and multifaceted role that requires a blend of clinical expertise, empathy, and effective communication.

Bedside nurse salary: A closer look at compensation

One of the common queries among aspiring nurses or those considering a shift in their nursing career is the question of bedside nurse salary. The compensation for bedside nurses varies based on factors such as geographical location, level of experience, and the healthcare setting. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses in the United States make an average annual salary of $89,010. These salaries are often supplemented with benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and educational opportunities for professional development.

Why are nurses leaving bedside nursing?

While bedside nursing is undoubtedly rewarding, the healthcare industry has witnessed a trend of nurses leaving bedside roles. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon:

1. Burnout:

The demanding nature of bedside nursing, with long hours, high patient-to-nurse ratios, and emotional stress, can lead to burnout. Nurses often find themselves stretched thin, impacting both their physical and mental well-being.

2. Lack of resources:

In some healthcare settings, nurses may face challenges due to inadequate staffing, limited resources, or outdated technology. These constraints can hinder their ability to provide optimal care, leading to frustration and disillusionment.

3. Emotional toll:

Dealing with patients in critical conditions or witnessing challenging situations can take an emotional toll on nurses. Over time, continuous exposure to such stressors may contribute to compassion fatigue, prompting some nurses to seek roles with less emotional strain.

4. Career advancement opportunities:

While bedside nursing is foundational, some nurses aspire for career growth and diversification. They may explore opportunities in leadership, education, research, or specialized fields to expand their skill set and contribute to healthcare in different capacities.

5. Work-life balance:

The irregular hours and demanding nature of bedside nursing can impact work-life balance. Nurses, like anyone else, may seek roles that offer more predictable schedules and a better balance between their professional and personal lives.

What is the answer to keeping nurses at the bedside?

The answer to many common nurse concerns could come from embracing a flexible workforce model. Historically, nursing jobs have entailed rigid schedules and long hours. These tiring conditions, combined with the emotional toll of the job, contribute to nurse burnout and frustration.

Technology-enabled flexible workforce platforms like CareRev could be the answer to the healthcare industry embracing a flexible workforce model. This new way of staffing could revolutionize how nurses work and how facilities manage patient fluctuations. 

Embracing the heart of healthcare

Despite the challenges, bedside nursing remains the heartbeat of healthcare. It is a profession driven by passion, resilience, and the genuine desire to make a positive impact on patients' lives. 

Organizations and healthcare leaders play a vital role in retaining bedside nurses by addressing burnout, providing adequate resources, and fostering environments that support their well-being. By recognizing the invaluable contributions of bedside nurses and implementing measures to enhance their professional satisfaction, we can ensure the continued strength of this foundational aspect of healthcare.

Want to learn about other in-demand healthcare professions? Explore more professions with shifts offered through the CareRev App.

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