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How Better Language Support Can Improve Experiences for Nurses

A nurse reading on a tablet

The last few years have brought about a massive fallout when it comes to nurse retention in healthcare. And unfortunately, the jump in the number of nurses leaving the field has a ripple effect on the quality of care for everyone.

According to a recent study and survey in the Journal of Nursing Regulation, around 800,000 registered nurses (RNs) are planning to step out of their careers by the year 2027. An additional 184,000 licensed practical and vocational nurses (LPNs and LVNs) also intend to leave by 2027. 

While there are several factors driving the lack of nurse engagement and retention, better language support could potentially make a positive difference. Find out why better language support within a healthcare organization could potentially help improve experiences for nurses.

Why Nurse Retention Is Such a Challenge for Healthcare Organizations 

So, why are nurses disengaging and letting go of their careers? The aforementioned study took a closer look at which nurses were leaving healthcare and why, and the answer is more than a bit concerning. 

The survey found that over 40% of RNs who had already left their jobs had less than a decade of on-the-job experience, and their mean age was just 36 years old. In other words, many nurses who have already left their careers would have normally been working in their fields for at least a few more decades. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly had a negative impact on nurses, the intent among nurses to leave their professions may stem from more long-term and general issues, such as: 

  • Bearing high workloads due to inadequate staffing 
  • Feeling unsupported or not listened to on the job 
  • Desiring better pay 
  • Feeling like the job takes a toll on them emotionally

In an annual assessment survey conducted by the American Nurses Foundation from 2021 to 2022, over half of nurses stated they felt "stressed," "exhausted," and "frustrated" within the prior two weeks. Only about one in four felt happy or confident in their roles, and only one in five felt valued. Another noteworthy number to mention: only 12% felt empowered to do their jobs. 

How Better Language Support Can Make a Difference in Nurse Experiences 

With such grim statistics surrounding the nursing profession, healthcare organizations must take steps to enhance nurse experiences. While there are many driving factors, offering proper language support, like translation and interpretation services, is a step in the right direction. Take a look at why below.

Nurses Are Empowered to Serve All Patients With Equitable Care 

The LEP (limited-English proficient) population has been climbing for the last few decades to reach an all-time high of 25.7 million. Therefore, the probability of encountering LEP patients as a nurse is greater than ever before. Adequate language support empowers nurses to serve these patients with the same levels of care as other patients. In turn, they can feel more empowered and confident with patient interactions and their ability to do their jobs well. 

Nurses Receive Greater Baseline Patient Information During Admissions 

A well-established language access and support program within an organization means LEP patients get language support from the first point of contact. For example, LEP patients can better communicate their symptoms during the triage process in an emergency department if that department has sufficient language support. This means nurses have a better baseline understanding of a patient's needs when they make it into a treatment room, and the stress on the attending nurse is reduced. 

Nurses Face Less Stress and Frustration on the Job 

When nurses are capable of communicating with an LEP patient effectively due to language support, their jobs become less stressful and frustrating. The fact that a healthcare provider offers language services automatically elevates trust between the patient and the people they come in contact with during a visit, including nurses. Therefore, an LEP patient is less likely to become agitated or upset, emotions that are often directed at nursing staff. 

Give Your Nursing Staff the Language Tools They Need 

Language support enhances both patient and provider experiences. If your language support plans are lacking, this could be causing problems with nurse retention in your organization. GLOBO can help. Reach out to find out how our customized language support solutions can make a difference. 

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