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POLICY/QUALITY: The Nursing Shortage — It’s real

Over at Code: the WebSocket Alwin has a really great article about the nursing shortage called A hard rain is gonna fall. I think he’s right and that after we’ve emptied every third world nation of their meagre nursing supply, we’ll realize that we have do something about it here. And in my view that means training fewer doctors and more nurses instead.

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MicheleSheyla nursetheorajonesGregory D. Pawelskigadfly Recent comment authors
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Michele
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Michele

Ok, as a nurse, I have a whole lot to say about the nursing shortage. I will try to be brief though. First, there is a nursing shortage and it is only expected to get worse in the next 10-15 years as our greying peers begin to retire (the average age of a staff nurse is 47 years old!) Secondly, part of the reason there is a shortage is that there aren’t enough nurses with advanced degrees to teach nursing students (possibly because someone would have to take a $30,000 cut in pay or more to teach?) Thirdly, part of… Read more »

Sheyla nurse
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I think that hiring foreign nurses could be a way out. Just creat a special programm for nurses from third countries with exams in English and Medicine and find them places to live. That seems real to me.

theorajones
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Okay, I’m going to be deliberately provocative here and suggest that maybe there isn’t a nursing shortage. I think it’s a point worth bringing up because Wennberg’s work at Dartmouth seems to demonstrate pretty powerfully that we don’t have a doctor shortage. There are clearly local shortages of primary practitioners in some rural areas and in some inner-city areas, but generally–no. I mean, one of Wennberg’s craziest (and most consistent) findings is that in areas with greater provider density, there is LESS access to care, apparently because as a competitive approach most docs (with the notable exception of family practitioners)… Read more »

Gregory D. Pawelski
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Gregory D. Pawelski

Even though it is the truth and a very serious situation, after reading Tribune-Review’s article “Nursing showing its age,” I sit back and laugh when the colleges and nursing schools say that they are full, all these people are going into nursing. At least half of each class will drop out or flunk out. I would bet another quarter of the class gets the shits of “nursing” within a year or two, and leave the profession to pursue another career. So out of 1,000 potential nurses, I bet 100-200 actually make it a life long career. They keep doing surveys… Read more »

Gregory D. Pawelski
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Gregory D. Pawelski

Even though it is the truth and a very serious situation, after reading Tribune-Review’s article “Nursing showing its age,” I sit back and laugh when the colleges and nursing schools say that they are full, all these people are going into nursing. At least half of each class will drop out or flunk out. I would bet another quarter of the class gets the shits of “nursing” within a year or two, and leave the profession to pursue another career. So out of 1,000 potential nurses, I bet 100-200 actually make it a life long career. They keep doing surveys… Read more »

gadfly
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gadfly

I have an aunt who was a nurse. One of the family stories was when she got her first paycheck, she cried because it was so low. She had advanced professional training, but the culture of the workplace didn’t perceive her as a professional. Since my aunt took on her first job as a nurse (I’m guessing this was sometime in the 50s), nursing pay has increased and the health care industry has been importing nurses from overseas to meet the “shortfall” (i.e., *demand* that favors dignified treatment of nurses as professionals). Nurses don’t always seem to be up to… Read more »

Eric Novack
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Ron- thank you for the nice words.
The relative shortage of doctors and nurses will worsen as the baby boomers retire.
The country has a choice: put your faith in the government (a la Kelo v. New London) or in the marketplace (airline prices).
Government control will allow for real winners (some insurance companies and hospital corporations and some suppliers) and some real losers (doctors and patients).

Sue
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Sue

This whole nursing shortage issue gets back to another issue–when we look at medical issues we look at modifying the current system vs. completely re-engineering it. The ultimate solution may involve changing curriculum, job descriptions, integration of people and technology and service expectations. With job redesign many things currently handled by nurses could be automated, eliminated or delegated to a lesser trained individual? Can patients take more responsibility–as an example some pain management system allow patients to up their dose within limits by pushing a button vs. calling a nurse–how much more of that can built in to hospital beds… Read more »

Ron Greiner
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Ron Greiner

Floridians can be pretty funny. In that article above, Scary Numbers, a 58 year old guy is planning his retirement health care costs and he complains: “Based on recent experience, I deem the cost of adequate health care to be incalculable – and rising,” said Robert Watts, 58, who runs a Bradenton business publishing real-estate market data. He said a health condition makes it impossible for him to get insurance and he owes more than $100,000 from a four-day hospital stay last year. We have a nursing shortage big time here in Florida. The papers are just full of huge… Read more »

Ron Greiner
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Ron Greiner

I listened to Dr Novacks show on Sunday and he talked about this very subject. He said a lot of the older docs were just throwing in the towel and retiring. The new crop of docs have a very high percentage of women in them. Women have a higher percentage of taking time off to have children. Plus, some return only on a part time basis until their children are grown. Dr. Novack suggests we are going to need more doctors, not fewer, with a population that is growing older. Greg Scanlen was a no show on the radio show.… Read more »