4 Ways the Healthcare System Is Broken - And How Nurses Can Help

Healthcare as a system was broken long before the pandemic...the pandemic just exposed the brokenness. Can nurses fix healthcare?

4 Ways the Healthcare System Is Broken - And How Nurses Can Help

I recently had LASIK surgery, and after the experience I thought to myself, “Wow! Modern healthcare is so advanced!” I had pretty bad eyesight, but in about 10 minutes with precision laser technology, my cornea was re-shaped, and now I have better than 20/20 vision! Amazing!

Never in healthcare have we been more innovative. We tackle complex medical cases and save lives. We offer incredible treatment options that are only possible through advancements in research and technology.

Yet healthcare worker burnout is high and patient satisfaction is low. Why?

The system is broken. The empire of modern healthcare ---as incredible as it is and as much potential as it offers--- is broken.

4 Ways the Healthcare System Is Broken

1. Transitions in Care

    Our patients transition a lot in healthcare. Hospital to home. ER to inpatient. Primary care to specialty care. The list goes on. Transitions in care are one of the most important pieces of the complex healthcare puzzle, yet they rarely happen smoothly. Initiatives that improve transitions in care are desperately needed.

    2. Communication

      So much goes on behind the scenes for patients, yet patients are completely unaware (and frequently frustrated—hello, wait times) because we do not keep them informed. But what’s worse – we do not do a great job of listening to patients. Effective, culturally sensitive communication techniques and education among healthcare staff are needed.

      3. Efficiency

        Most healthcare providers would probably agree that we do not have enough time in our day to spend with our patients. Yet if we make time, what’s the worst that can happen? Scary thought. Patient-centered initiatives that improve efficiency are needed in healthcare.

        4. Costs

          The United States spends more on healthcare than any other industrialized nation without the results to show for it. Healthcare costs are breaking the bank for our patients and undoubtedly contribute to access to care issues. Cost-savings initiatives are needed as well as broader healthcare reform.

          How Nurses Can Be Part of the Solution 

          Nurses are incredibly resourceful and can offer valuable insight into the issues that plague modern-day healthcare. Involving clinicians in process improvement is essential! But how do nurses get involved in making a difference beyond the bedside?

          • Talk to co-workers and patients to learn more about the issues
          • Offer practical solutions to leadership/management
          • Join a unit practice council or quality committee
          • Consider pursuing a degree in advanced nursing education to make a systems-level impact

          Nurses, make your voice heard in healthcare! Speak up about the issues and share potential solutions! Your patients need you now more than ever. And your colleagues will thank you too.

          To nurse-led solutions! Be the change. 

          Categories: Healthcare Systems, Nurse-Led Change, Quality Improvement