I remember when we used to be excited for a new year because it always indicated a fresh start, a new opportunity, and a time to consider what we might like to change or accomplish with our personal and/or professional lives. I have seen a lot of memes on social media telling us to sneak into 2023 quietly so we do not draw attention to ourselves given the past three years we’ve experienced.
What does 2023 have in store for us? I do not have a crystal ball, so I am as uncertain as all of you, however, given where we are at the end of 2022, there are some things we know are going to continue into the new year.
We are going to continue to face staffing challenges and workforce challenges.
We are going to continue to face staffing challenges and workforce challenges. We are certainly going to continue to be stretched to the limit in terms of bed capacity, backlogs, increased acuity, and all the fallouts from a system at the breaking point. However, there are many opportunities for medical-surgical nurses in 2023. In the face of uncertainty, nurses can leverage their collective power to advocate for and demand change.
Hospitals are facing significant recruiting challenges, as I mentioned in my blog last month, with 80% of hospitals facing at least a 10% RN vacancy rate. Widespread vacancies tilt the power to the nurses, so be sure to advocate for better staffing, resources and pay. If you are not looking for a new position, but sit on a shared governance committee, or any committee for that matter, advocate for better staffing, resources and pay. Use this opportunity to collectively advocate for better working conditions and the recognition that medical-surgical nursing is a specialty.
Medical-surgical nurses must demand better staffing models and working conditions.
Medical-surgical nurses must demand better staffing models and working conditions. To support that effort, in 2023 AMSN will convene a task force to begin to develop evidence-based recommended staffing standards for medical-surgical nursing. We will define the safe and appropriate staffing levels for medical-surgical settings and will advocate for the adoption of these standards in practice. Stay tuned for more information, and the opportunity to participate on the task force or in some other way.
When AMSN releases its staffing standards, we will promote them widely to all employers and the broader healthcare industry, but you can play a role by ensuring your employer is informed about the standards and their recommendations. Be sure to share them with your leadership and colleagues. Advocate for their adoption and promote awareness of them within your practice setting. Together we can advocate for improved staffing models for medical-surgical nursing.