ABC News story on the Nursing Shortage and its EEffects on Patients - page 3

Good story about the nursing shortage on tonight's ABC World News --thank you, Peter Jennings!... Read More

  1. by   fadingyouth
    Originally posted by leesonlpn
    Why, whenever there is a discussion about the nursing shortage, it only mentions Registered Nurses. Licensed Practical Nurses are a regulated profession body of nurses, and play a vital part in the health care system. I have been one for 22 years, and still feel invisible sometimes.
    I have been an LVN for 35 years and I can recall when I was a NURSE. Now, it seems that since the message is that only professional nurses have the knowledge to be able to assess the total patient and thereby prevent or negate a crise, they are the only true nurse.
    No single reporter or article has bothered to ask about those of us who strive to find out the whys and wherefors of care. Not one bothers to ask about the crises , not only involving a patient, but with shortages that we have prevented. No one bothers to do a total and relative review.
    I recall an assessment that was done here in Texas some 15 to 20 years ago. A then senator surmised that professional nurses were needed because they possessed the knowledge base to be able to identify and process the technical aspects of nursing, It was not, she said, to say that LVN's were unskilled, or less able to accept info, but they were just lacking. She also added that she was not saying that we were stupid for she had a family member that was a LVN.
    Needless to say I never again voted for her-either as senator or judge.
    It is true that we did not learn from a textbook all things, but some of us take extra time to keep abreast of current topics, update our ceus and learn to ask "WHY?"
    There's been a recent surge to eliminate the nurse in our title, but it seems that there has yet to be a suggestion on what to call us.
    In the meantime, keep on elbowing your way through and stand firm.
  2. by   NMAguiar
    Yeah, our site has links to the New York Times story that's more complete than the ABC News broadcast story. We have a copy of it as it ran in the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Killer conclusion by JCAHO; but I'm always suspicious of them when they cross the line into the political arena -- such as they have with this conclusion. Despite reading several stories on the subject today, I've yet to see anyone explain the tangible connection between the nursing shortage and increased deaths, beyond the blamed mass of unexplained "data."

    Hey, the conclusion verifies what many of us have said for years -- less nurses equals less care -- increased deaths are the logical extension. But as I said, I'm suspicious of JCAHO's timing on this.

    Last edit by NMAguiar on Aug 8, '02
  3. by   -jt
    <To my memoery this is the first time that JCAHO acknowledged this impact of the RN shortage.>

    JCAHO has spent the last year in meetings with staff nurses & our organizations, effectively getting an education on the subject - courtesy of staff RN & LPN nurses unions & the ANA. Suddenly, JCAHO gets it. The comments & solutions JCAHO has come up with echos some of what these nursing groups have been saying & pushing for for the past 3 years. Its about time JCAHO started paying attention:

    <<JCAHO:
    Nursing Shortage Poses Serious Health Care Risk: Joint Commission Expert Panel Offers Solutions To National Health Care Crisis
    FOR RELEASE:
    Wednesday, August 7, 2002, 12:01 AM
    (OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. August 7, 2002)

    The growing shortage of nurses in America's hospitals is putting patient lives in danger and requires immediate attention, according to an urgent call for action released today by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

    The solutions proposed by a special Joint Commission Expert Roundtable focus on transforming the nursing workplace; creating a clinical foundation for nursing educational preparation and advancement; and providing financial incentives for health care organizations to invest in high quality nursing care. Failure to address this problem aggressively, JCAHO warns, is likely to result in increased deaths, complications, lengths-of-stay, and other undesirable patient outcomes.

    More than 126,000 nursing positions are unfilled today and that number is expected to skyrocket just as 78 million aging Baby Boomers begin placing unprecedented demands on America's health care system. The nurse staffing problem is today a major factor in emergency department overcrowding, cancellation of elective surgeries, discontinuation of clinical services, and the limited ability of the health system to respond to any mass casualty incident. In addition, 90 percent of nursing homes report an insufficient number of nurses to provide even the most basic of care, and some home health agencies are being forced to refuse new admissions.

    While there are currently shortages of other health care personnel, nurses are the primary source of care and support for patients at the most vulnerable points in their lives. Nearly every person's health care experience involves a registered nurse. Birth and death, and all the various forms of care in between, are attended by the knowledge, support and comfort of nurses.

    "The need for solutions to this problem is particularly urgent," says Dennis S. O'Leary, M.D., president, JCAHO. "We must as a country understand not simply what needs to be done, but who specifically is responsible for getting each task done. Otherwise, we face a future in which patient safety and health care quality will be significantly compromised."

    Job dissatisfaction, an aging workforce and cost cutting to save scarce health care dollars; reductions in hospital resources to support nursing care; lack of adequate education preparation; and overwork and stress resulting from growing patient care assignments, and extra shifts - these inter-related underlying factors and others are to blame for this nursing shortage.

    In a study conducted by Vanderbilt University in 2001, 93 percent of Americans said the nursing shortage threatens quality of care. In order to combat these problems, the JCAHO Expert Roundtable identified the following three strategies:

    *** Transform the workplace to give nurses the independence and support they need to do their work well, thereby creating a culture of professional satisfaction and encouraging retention. Setting staffing levels that take into account the complexities of patient needs and nurses' skills and competencies must also be part of the solution. So too is adoption of zero-tolerance policies for abusive behaviors by physicians and other health care practitioners.

    *** Bolster nursing education to ensure that new graduates are better prepared to care for fragile patients. This means re-invigoration of nursing schools by funding new faculty positions and incenting nurses to seek advanced degrees. It also means the creation of standardized post-graduate nursing residency programs. Increased federal funding for nursing education is also needed to encourage greater interest in the profession.

    *** Make new federal money available to incent hospitals to invest in nursing services. Continued receipt of these monies should be conditioned on achievement of evidenced-based, nursing-sensitive goals, including patient outcomes.

    "This report is about accountabilities," says Sally Ann Sample, R.N., M.N., moderator of the Expert Roundtable. "Hospital CEOs, public policy makers, nurse executives, schools of nursing, physicians, accreditors and private industry must all come together to take definitive steps to radically change the calamitous course we are on now."

    For a complete copy of the JCAHO report see, "Health Care at the Crossroads." The report is the first in a series of planned white papers on key public policy issues that impact patient safety and health care quality. >>>

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