US SENATE HEARING ON NURSING SHORTAGE - page 2

The US Senate heard testimony from the ANA, the Maryland Dept of Health, the AONE, the AHA and a College of Nursing Re: the Importance of Nurses & the impact of the Nursing Shortage..... Opening... Read More

  1. by   -jt
    [Quote the temporary solution to their problem. It is to bring the baby boom nurses like me who have left the bedside back for a few years.... .Most of us who were at the bedside two years ago would have worked another five years but they drove us out with overwork, pay freezes and other dangerous conditions. I would come back to the bedside tomorrow if they would promise to give me reasonable amts. of work, no overtime and good support. It would really help if those last few years would really count heavily toward retirment.

    This is exactly what they were told at the hearing. Now they need to hear it from all of us too.
  2. by   Mijourney
    Hi -jt. I guess my question should be, how will the money, resources, and support be allocated? It seems that all too often, legislated monies end up lining and padding the pockets of people who have the least need for it. If my CEO or administrator along with other administrative staff is already making 5-10-20 times more than I (I'm sorry, I'm still reviewing your info) why should he/she further increase his/her salary and benefits from additional funding when the real need is at the bedside?

    I recently read a professional magazine (I can't remember the name) where one of the writers of an article wrote that we need to predict as well as prevent problems when it comes to health and patient care. I've been through several nursing shortages in my career and each time, mostly money gets thrown at the problem without any real resolution from those of us in nursing or outside of nursing. Suddenly, we're experiencing an unprecedented growth of people with acute and chronic illnesses in our nation's history and now they decide to take action after much damage has already occurred.

    In my opinion, health/medical care services, like education, should not be mired in the vicious cycle of profit. I'm all for readjusting the way that we deliver care if its proven, and it was back in the early 1980's, that we're being overly wasteful with the resources. I'm all for settling for a moderate, albeit very livable wage. But, this is only if the CEOs, physicians, and various administrators and other vendors will settle for less. The pursuit of excess profits has prevented me from taking care of my clients in the way I know they would best benefit. It has taken much of the joy out of administering care. I don't necessarily long for the old days, just good days.

    I still enjoy many aspects of nursing. I enjoy seeing clients/patients learn to manage on their own from my instruction or from other nurses or therapists instructions. When I first came onto this board about one year ago, I came on saying that health and medical care should be approached as a ministry and not an industry. I still stand by that.
  3. by   Mijourney
    Hi. And for those who are interested, I'm emailing some of the representatives on the list that natalie provided.
  4. by   oramar
    Originally posted by -jt:
    [Quote the temporary solution to their problem. It is to bring the baby boom nurses like me who have left the bedside back for a few years....
    This is exactly what they were told at the hearing. Now they need to hear it from all of us too.
    Dear -jt, I was just posting the Barbara Mikulski site, doesn't she have a kind face.
  5. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Mijourney:
    [B]. I guess my question should be, how will the money, resources, and support be allocated? It seems that all too often, legislated monies end up lining and padding the pockets of people who have the least need for it.


    The money is specifically earmarked and is not for the CEOs pockets. I would guess that your Congressional Representative could answer your questions in detail. When writng to your Congressman or the Senators on that Healthcare Committee, you might ask what their plans are for the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 4577)

    The following is just a little info on it from December 2000....

    "Billions Appropriated for Health Care Programs
    Washington, DC -- The American Nurses Association (ANA) applauds the Clinton Administration and Congress for approving a major, last-minute legislative package that will address many pressing health care needs. President Clinton is currently poised to sign the bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 4577), which will increase funding for a number of key health care programs supported by the ANA. The long-awaited package contains three appropriations bills as well as $35 billion in new Medicare funding.

    The package will help relieve the financial pressures on America's hospitals that have exacerbated the crisis in nurse staffing by increasing Medicare's hospital payments by $14 billion over five years. Medicare funding for skilled nursing facilities is increased by $1.6 billion, including a 16.7 percent increase in payments for nursing services.........."
    for more info go to http://www.ana.org/pressrel/2000/pr1220.htm
  6. by   -jt
    [quote]Originally posted by oramar:
    I was just posting the Barbara Mikulski site, doesn't she have a kind face.
    shes adorable - if you can say that about a fiesty old Senator!
  7. by   OC_An Khe
    -jt
    Thanks for starting this thread, interesting an informative as usual. Yes we have a problem today and a diaaster facing us in a few years (10-20 doesn't seem that long anymore). Both problems must be worked on simultaneously or else everyone is spinning their wheels and will go nowhere. Without solving the "working condition/compensation" problem the Nursing profession will continue to appear unattractive and uncompetitive with other career fields. Infusions of massive amounts of capital are needed on many levels. But what is the return on this investment? The economic value of the Nursing profession has never been recognized by the American public. Though health care professionals understand nursings value they will not recognize it if it results in them losing income and access to capital themselves.
    If additional funding for medicare is made avaiable and home health reimbursements are raised to provide the necessary capital for improvements in the compensation and working conditions in Nursing I still wonder how much of it would actually get passed on to the RN's? IMHO Nurses simply don't trust the administrators to do this.
    Without the improvement in many of the root causes of the current shortage the money spent on increasing the supply of nurses entering the field will be wasted. A continuing revolving door will be created instead with entry and rapid exit from the profession continuing.
  8. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]Without the improvement in many of the root causes of the current shortage the money spent on increasing the supply of nurses entering the field will be wasted. A continuing revolving door will be created instead with entry and rapid exit from the profession continuing.

    yes - That is the very point that was made at this hearing. Everyone finally seems to be on the same page so I think that Senate hearing was very important first step in correcting the problem. I'm encouraged.
  9. by   natalie
    From American Hospital Assoc. http://www.ahanews.com/asp/ArticleDi...rticleID=13744

    AHA News Monday, February 19, 2001


    Senate panel told nursing demand will outpace supply by 20% in 2020


    by Che Parker


    Debate surrounding the nation's worsening nursing shortage heated up last week in several quarters, with experts telling a Senate subcommittee that by 2020 the demand for nursing services is expected to exceed supply by 20% as just one chilling highlight of that debate.

    Witnesses at the Feb. 13 hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions subcommittee on aging warned Senators of a pending major health care crisis in America if action isn't taken now.

    Senators on the subcommittee on aging were unanimous about the need for immediate action to address the shortage. Subcommittee Chairman Tim Hutchinson, R-AR, stated that in nine years more than 40% of registered nurses would be over the age of 50.

    "What if our military was aging and everyone over the rank of corporal would retire in 10 years?" asked Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-MD. "This is like the military. The safety and health of our nation depends on our nurses."

    Sen. Pat Roberts, D-KS, agreed. He compared the nursing shortage and the conditions nurses face to a national security issue that needs prompt solutions.

    A panel of expert witnesses testified that 78 million aging baby-boomers, along with a shrinking number of nurses, will have a grave effect on the health and well being of the nation.

    George Benjamin, M.D. and secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, testified that nurses are "not coming in, they're not staying in, and while they're there, they're not happy."

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-NY, said that nurses, not physicians, determine patients' outcome physically and emotionally.

    "They love their work, they love their patients," explained Clinton, "but they can't continue to work under the conditions that exist today."

    Panelist urged that recruiting programs for students years before reaching high school, higher wages with better incentives, and more flexible hours be instituted as soon as possible.

    Brandon Melton, vice president for human resources at Catholic Health Initiatives, testified on behalf of AHA that "the nation will need 1.7 million nurses by 2020, but just more than 600,000 will be available. We realize the severity of the situation and understand that unless we all work cooperatively now, we will face increasingly critical situations in the future," he said.

    When asked, representatives of the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) and the American Nurses Association (ANA) said they don't support mandated staffing ratios. (ANA later clarified that it supports "upwardly adjustable" minimums.) They stated that it was difficult to determine proper ratios because health care settings in general are constantly in a state of perpetual motion.

    Hutchinson said he plans to introduce legislation soon to focus on nursing recruitment, training and education incentives, and faculty development.


    This article first appeared in the February 19 2001 issue of AHA News
  10. by   natalie
    Also-
    http://www.ahanews.com/asp/ArticleDi...rticleID=13747

    AHA News Monday, February 19, 2001


    Planned bill aimed at nurse shortage


    by Che Parker


    Sens. Jim Jeffords, R-VT, and John Kerry, D-MA, announced last week they plan to introduce legislation in just over a week they believe will ease the nationwide nursing shortage following the release of a national government survey that puts some alarming numbers to the issue.

    The Senators met with health care professionals in Washington on Feb. 14 to discuss immediate solutions to the nation's nurse shortage upon the release of the 2000 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (RNs).

    The survey, conducted by the Bureau of Health Professions' Division of Nursing, reports educational backgrounds and specialty areas, employment status, geographic location, and demographic makeup of nearly 2.7 million RNs.

    Among the findings: the share of the RN population below age 30 dropped from 25.1% in 1980 to 9.1% in 2000, while the average age of all RNs today is over 45 years old.

    Jeffords, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said the survey showed alarming trends that reinforce fears of a looming health care crisis.

    Kerry said the multi-tiered plan he and Jeffords plan to introduce is meant to attract quality men and women to the field while providing better hours and pay to those already in it.

    For more on the survey, visit http://www.bhpr.hrsa.gov.-- Che Parker


    This article first appeared in the February 19 2001 issue of AHA News
  11. by   purplemania
    I think nurses act more as independent contractors than they did in the past. I feel no loyalty to my employer who hires agency nurses to fill gaps then lays off their own full time personnel in order to pay the agency nurse a full week's pay. I am looking into agency work myself. If all nurses were agency nurses then the hospitals would be screaming for answers to staffing issues. Right now it is YOUR problem, not theirs.

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