Why we should look at the nursing shortage from a new perspective

Tendency towards homo stimulus requires rethinking of nursing education

Humans are constantly influenced by their environment. This is a finding that does not contain any great novelty value, because it seems to be a general consensus that external stimuli at least contribute to the development of competencies, skills, behavioral patterns and also personality, and in some cases even assume a central role.

From this point of view, the conclusion that with a change in the stimulus framework, the person also changes is probably a legitimate one. In the past, the whole thing often took place slowly, almost comfortably. A person who would have been transferred from the 60s to the 90s would probably be irritated by the increase in stimuli, which are primarily brought to him by economic buying impulses via advertising or from the entertainment sector, but not shaken, because the basics of the prevailing stimulus framework already existed in his time and were only consistently further developed.  Yes, it may strain the nerves more, and yet everything can still be switched off. Life is hardly touched, the innermost not reached.

But the person who would be transported from the year 2006 to the year 2016 encounters a new world with a completely different stimulus framework. The stimuli are everywhere, are carried around in the smartphone, whose breakthrough was only initiated in 2007, are requested, dominate everyday life and are indispensable for many. Switching off is not foreseen and these stimuli penetrate into the depth of the person. They are not so easily identified as buying impulses, political manipulation or entertainment. Nothing is clear anymore, everything is networked and blurred.  It’s not the smartphone that’s the innovation, that will become less important in the next few years, but the omnipresence of stimuli and the desire to interact with them. The innermost, at least in many cases, has now willingly opened its doors. A conditioning to stimuli; occurs in so few years. Homo stimulus is born and is now the dominant variant of Homo sapiens.

This has consequences, because this new stimulus framework, the most intense in history to date, has also changed people. For this there is a multitude of studies, which on the one hand try to grasp this new stimulus frame of collective individualism, but on the other hand also show the consequences.

Let us jump, to be a significant example, to an area that, thanks to the Corona pandemic, is on everyone’s lips, nursing. For example, the Erich von Werner Society’s nursing survey and its embedding in the current state of research suggest that the behavioral capitalist stimulus framework of the 21st century has led to changes in competencies, skills, and behaviors of current and future nursing trainees. These would contribute to more difficult recruitment of the next generation of nurses as well as high dropout rates, but have not been adequately addressed to date. The following are named in this regard:

  • An operant conditioning to fast, artificial, and high-frequency stimuli through the establishment of behavioral capitalist reward systems
  • Changed competencies
    • Multitasking
    • Non-linear thinking
    • Mobile media use
    • Multimodal processing (speech, sound, image)
    • Collaborative collaboration
    • Complementary developments
  • Re-imprinting of identity through identification dissonance between social and individualized role
  • New socio-cultural diversity through milieu struggles and erosion
  • Possible changes in brain structures; long-term observation is advisable here.

All in all, there is a discernible tendency toward homo stimulus. The new trainee is „different“ and this requires adapted and new strategies for the recruitment, training, motivation and long-term retention of trainees in nursing.
The Erich von Werner Society therefore recommends the following supplementary approach to countering the shortage of trainees and skilled workers:

  • Introduction of a nursing education reward system (PABS).
  • Development of a stimulus framework oriented nursing education marketing (RoPam).
  • Introduction of a stimulus framework oriented nursing education evaluation (RoPav).
  • Incorporation of collective individualism into teaching
  • Adaptation of training to the homo stimulus

The full study will be published in book form on Jan. 15, 2022. A brief presentation of the contents can be found at DOI 10.5281/zenodo.5771019.

Undoubtedly, research in this area should intensify, but what applies to trainees in nursing can be applied in this way to other trainees, students or fellow human beings:

The Homo stimulus has continued to spread and it is even likely that the partial social isolation during the Corona pandemic has further dynamized its establishment. The stimulus environment has changed and so has the person. 

Therefore, completely new strategies of adaptation will be needed in the future. Not just for education, not just for studying, but for living together, for taking things for granted, for society itself.

Literature recommendation

Neue Herausforderungen in der Krankenpflegeausbildung im 21. Jahrhundert
Ausbildungsergänzungen für das Zeitalter des kollektiven Individualismus

1. Auflage

Erich von Werner Verlag

Andreas Herteux  
230 Seiten
ISBN: 9783948621476
E-Book-ISBN: 9783948621483
EUR 49,99 (D)
EUR 29,99 (Ebook)

ET 15.01.2022

Veröffentlicht von Erich von Werner Gesellschaft

Die Erich von Werner Gesellschaft ist eine unabhängige Forschungseinrichtung. Sie analysiert politische, wirtschaftliche und gesellschaftliche Zusammenhänge sowie Veränderungen und bildet diese in Theorien und Modellen ab. Gleichzeitig erarbeitet sie Lösungen für globale Herausforderungen in einer sich immer schneller wandelnden Zeit. Leiter der Erich von Werner Gesellschaft ist Andreas Herteux.

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