Giant petition puts feds on notice of nursing shortage

  1. Most of you are already aware of this campaign "Drive for Quality Care"
    I just wanted to share an article out of Florida, on the stop in Tallahassee.



    Giant petition puts feds on notice of nursing shortage
    By Bill Cotterell
    DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER
    Please see PETITION, 2B


    'Key players'
    Pauline Card signed a giant petition urging federal action to head off a shortage of attendants in nursing homes Friday and said the situation is getting critical for elderly patients and those who care for them.

    "We just don't have enough help in caring for the residents," said Card, a certified nurse assistant at Mariner Health of Tallahassee, a long-term care facility on Centerville Road. "It's much easier to take a job, and less stressful, at our local Wal-Mart."

    Cathy Ates, president of the Florida Directors of Nursing Association, said the state will need 12,000 more nursing assistants and other caregivers when a new long-term care law takes effect Jan. 1. The statute requires facilities such as the three Ates owns in Blountstown, Crestview and Fort Walton Beach to increase direct contact with patients from an average of 1.7 to 2.3 hours per day.

    Ates said certified nursing assistants "are the key players" in feeding, bathing and assisting nursing home patients. She said they make $6.35 an hour at her businesses, but can make up to $9 hourly on the overnight shift, with incentives.

    "The existing nursing shortage presents a clear and present danger to frail and vulnerable citizens in Florida and all across the nation," said Ates, a registered nurse.

    Dozens of nurses, dietary employees and other long-term-care workers turned out for a news conference featuring a motor camper making its 40th stop of a cross-country tour, hauling a bedsheet-sized petition urging President Bush and Congress to deal with a nationwide shortage estimated at 800,000 nursing assistants in seven years.

    There are five bills pending in Congress, including one by Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., to provide federal help to states for recruiting, training and retaining nurses and aides in long-term care.

    Evelyn Swatts, a licensed practical nurse for Vanderbilt Life Center on Miccosukee Road, also signed the petition. She said she has worked in long-term care for 13 of her 15 years as an LPN, and she sees harmful turnover because of low salaries and hard work - made harder by a rapidly rising population of elderly patients and extra steps taken to avoid liability lawsuits.

    "A lot of people have families and are working other jobs, so they get discouraged," she said. "I do it because this is in my heart, it's where I want to be."

    The "Drive for Quality Care" petition, sponsored by the American Health Care Association, began its nationwide trek in San Luis Obispo, Calif., last month. The caravan will stop in capitals and major cities of several eastern states before arriving in Washington next month to present the petition to Congress.

    Contact Bill Cotterell at bcotterell@taldem.com or (850) 599-2243
    •  
  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   -jt
    <There are five bills pending in Congress, including one by Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., to provide federal help to states for recruiting, training and retaining nurses and aides in long-term care. >


    I wish they would get the story straight! There is NOT a shortage of nurses at this time. There are 5 TIMES as many licensed nurses who are not working in nursing as there are available direct-care (hospital/nursing home) jobs for them. (nation-wide approx. 500,000 nurses not working:100,000 vacant positions. - according to the 107th Congressional Research Services Report of 5/18/01 & the ANA).
    And their reason is mainly the unacceptable working conditions of those vacant positions. So there is no shortage in numbers of nurses right now. There is only a shortage of nurses who are WILLING to work in the conditions found at these jobs. Thats a big difference!

    There is not a shortage of nurses. There is a shortage of hospital & nursing home jobs that they find attractive & acceptable to work in.

    The gov't can recruit & fund all the new students they want, but if they dont do something about those working conditions, they wont able to retain the new ones either. They'll be following the rest of us right out the door too. You can keep transfusing the pt but if you dont suture the wound, you'll never stop the hemorrhage and you wont see any difference in the H/H.

    Will you please tell the newspaper that?
    Thanks.
  4. by   Chellyse66
    AMEN Julie!
    I have been using those stats when speaking with admins and colleagues, explaining there is no shortage as of yet BUT a shortage of acceptable positions. Nurses are not willing to be in these positions with high liability rates, ungodly ratios and unrealistic assignments. I will write the paper.We all should respond to the campaign they have a website...
    Thanks,
    Michele
  5. by   NRSKarenRN
    From ANA press release 6/27/01
    ANA Addresses the Cause for and Solutions to the Nursing Shortage at Senate Committee Hearing
    http://www.nursingworld.org/pressrel/2001/pr0627.htm

    Washington, DC -- Today Ann O'Sullivan, MSN, RN, testified on behalf of the American Nurses Association (ANA) before the Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring, and the District of Columbia. O'Sullivan, president of the Illinois Nursing Association, provided comments on efforts to improve the recruitment and retention of registered nurses (RNs).

    ANA is concerned by current staffing shortages and by reports showing that the nursing workforce will soon fail to meet the demand for nursing services. O'Sullivan stated, "As RNs are the largest single group of health care professionals in the United States, the current and emerging nursing shortage poses a real threat to our nation's health care system."

    ANA maintains that the reasons for the current staffing shortages and the answers to the impending shortage are multifaceted. Of particular concern is the negative impact today's working environment is having on the retention of RNs as well as the ability of the profession to recruit students. O'Sullivan's statement to the Senate committee highlighted the fact that large numbers of RNs are leaving the bedside and enrollments in nursing schools have dropped in each of the last six consecutive years.

    O'Sullivan further highlighted the problems caused by inadequate staffing and mandatory overtime. She stated, "There is not a current shortfall in the number of nurses, per se. Rather, there is a shortage of positions that these RNs find attractive." O'Sullivan went on to explain, "Nurses are, understandably, reluctant to accept positions in which they will face inappropriate staffing, be confronted by mandatory overtime, inappropriately rushed through patient care activities and face retaliation if they report unsafe practices."

    In her written testimony, O'Sullivan provided the committee with an ANA supported integrated state and federal legislative campaign that addresses the current and impending nursing shortage. Key federal initiatives addressed in the comments included elimination of mandatory overtime, models for adequate staffing, support for nurse education and whistleblower protections.

    In addition, O'Sullivan expressed the opposition that she and the ANA share about the use of immigration as a means to address staffing shortages. ANA has serious ethical concerns with the recruitment of foreign-trained nurses when there is a worldwide shortage of nurses. O'Sullivan insisted, "We should not look overseas when the real problem is the fact that the U.S. health care industry has failed to maintain a work environment that is conducive to safe, quality nursing practice and that retains experienced American nurses in patient care."

    This Wildtime is ANA's position on nursing immigration visa.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Aug 20, '01
  6. by   -jt
    <Now how do you go back to congress and say after making these statements and say, We do not want to educate more nurses or bring in foreign nurses until we fix the problems which are causing existing nurses to leave?>

    We do not have to go back & add anything. We have been saying all along that while its a good thing to be working to build the workforce of the future & that must be done, the problems in the workplace of the present need to be fixed AT THE SAME TIME, or any efforts to recruit & RETAIN will not be effective. You have disregarded this fact in the past, continue to accuse the ANA of ignoring present conditions & current nurses, & once again youve convenveniently left those statements out of your postings to fit your agenda. Why not quote the whole article instead of pulling out pieces to misrepresent what was said... yet again.

    If you want to have a debate, you really should do your homework first & know the topic to avoid seeming ignorant on the subject. FYI, the text of these testimonies (which we are all very proud of) were posted here when the hearings first took place, along with the links to the ANA site they are available to be viewed on. Heres what you "missed" in those articles you quoted:

    Congressional Testimony -
    Presented by
    Anne O'Sullivan, MSN, RN
    for the American Nurses Association
    June 27, 2001

    "....... It is important to realize that the causes, and therefore the answers, for the emerging nursing shortage are complex and interrelated. It is critical to examine issues in education, health delivery systems and the work environment. ANA maintains that the reasons for the current nurse vacancy rates to the impending shortage are multifaceted. Therefore, we must approach this shortage from many fronts.........

    Recent Changes in Nurse Employment

    Current staffing problems are inexorably tied to changes in nurse employment practices over the last decade. Just ten years ago we were emerging from the nursing shortage of the late 1980's. Nursing workforce issues had caught the attention of the highest reaches of the Reagan and Bush Administrations and the HHS Secretary's Commission on Nursing had recently released recommendations on methods to improve the work environment for nurses. Very few of these workplace initiatives were actually implemented, but health care facilities across the nation did institute aggressive recruitment campaigns and wages were increased. In fact, the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA's) National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses shows that the average real annual salary of all RNs employed full-time rose 33 percent between 1980 and 1992 (in constant 1984 dollars). At the same time, RN employment in hospitals grew by a steady rate of 2-3 percent annually through the 1980's and early 90's. By the early 1990's reports of nurses shortages had significantly diminished.

    However, in the mid-1990's the picture changed. At this time, managed care began to exert downward pressure on provider margins. In addition, the impact of the change in Medicare reimbursement to prospective payment was taking hold. Providers eagerly sought out and implemented programs designed to reduce expenditures. New models of health care delivery were implemented, and highly-trained, experienced - and therefore higher paid - personnel were eliminated or redeployed. As RNs typically represent the largest single expenditure for hospitals (averaging 20 percent of the budget) we were some of the first to feel the pinch. Lesser-skilled, lower-salaried assistive staff were hired as replacements, and RN salaries decreased in both actual and real terms.

    Analysis of census data shows that between 1994 and 1997 RN wages across all employment settings dropped by an average of 1.5 percent per year (in constant 1997 dollars). Between 1993 and 1997, the average wage of an RN employed in a hospital dropped by roughly a dollar an hour (in real terms). RN employment in the hospital sector reversed to the negative, dropping most precipitously in areas of the country that experienced high managed care saturation. Many providers eliminated positions for nursing middle managers and executive level staff. Hospital employment for unlicenced aides, however, increased by an average of 4.5 percent a year between 1994 and 1997.

    The overall impact of the changes in the 1990s was to increase pressure on staff nurses who were required to oversee unlicenced aides while caring for a larger number of sicker patients. The elimination of management positions shortened the career ladder and decreased the support, advocacy and resources necessary to ensure that nurses could provide optimum care. At the same time employment security was uncertain and wages were being cut.

    The Current Employment Situation

    Not surprisingly, the changes in the RN employment environment in the last decade have precipitated a downturn in the number of people working in the nursing profession, and growing discontent among those who remain. As the image of professional nursing has changed from a field that offered many opportunities and high job security to one that holds great uncertainty, low starting wages and difficult working conditions, students have shied away from nursing programs.

    A recent ANA survey of nurses revealed that nearly 55 percent of the nurses surveyed would not recommend the nursing profession as a career for their children or friends. In fact, 23 percent of the respondents indicated that they would actively discourage someone close to them from entering the nursing profession. I know as a nurse educator, nurses often ask my students, "Why on earth do you want to become a nurse and get into this mess? It's not worth it. You can't give patients the care they need--there's just not enough staff to do it right."

    A large multi-national survey recently conducted by the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research shows that America's nurses are particularly dissatisfied with their jobs. More than 40 percent of nurses in American hospitals reported being dissatisfied with their jobs, as compared to 15 percent of all workers. In addition, this report shows that 43 percent of American nurses score higher than expected on measures of job burnout.

    ANA statistics show that nurses typically burn out and leave hospital bedside nursing after just four years of employment.
    Years of discontent have led us to a situation in which an alarming number of our experienced RNs have chosen to leave the profession. The 2000 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses shows that a large number of nurses (500,000 nurses - more than 18 percent of the nurse workforce) who have active licenses are not working in nursing. In Illinois alone, the numbers of licensed RNs who are no longer working in nursing increased by 8% in the years between 1996 and 2000. Clearly, something in the practice setting is driving these nurses away from their chosen profession.

    The Environment of Care

    In an effort to ascertain the cause of nurse discontent, ANA recently conducted an on-line survey of nurses across the nation. Nearly 7,300 nurses took the opportunity to express their opinions about their working conditions. These nurses report that over the last two years they have experienced increased patient loads, increased floating between departments, decreased support services and increasing demands for mandatory overtime. These studies reveal that the recent changes in RN employment have negatively impacted patient care, the work environment for nurses, the perception of nursing as a career, and the staffing flexibility needed to address temporary staffing shortages.

    The American Hospital Association reports that there are 126,000 openings for RNs in hospitals across the nation. We have all been hearing about the difficulties that they are having finding nurses to take these positions. I often hear from staff nurses in Illinois who tell me that the reason for these vacancies is dissatisfaction with the work environment. The numbers of nurses with active licenses who are no longer working in nursing (494,000 natin-wide) bolsters my belief that there is not a current shortfall in the number of nurses, per se. Rather, there is a shortage of positions that these RNs find attractive. Nurses are, understandably, reluctant to accept positions in which they will face inappropriate staffing, be confronted by mandatory overtime, inappropriately rushed through patient care activities, and face retaliation if they report unsafe practices.

    Solutions

    ANA is supporting an integrated state and federal legislative campaign to address the many components of the current and impending nursing shortage. Following are key federal initiatives we hope this Committee will consider.

    ADEQUATE STAFFING

    The safety and quality of care provided in the nation's health care facilities is directly related to the number and mix of direct care nursing staff. More than a decade of research shows that nurse staffing levels and skill mix make a difference in the outcomes of patients. Studies show that when there are more nurses, there are lower mortality rates, shorter lengths of stay, better care plans, lower costs, and fewer complications. In fact, four HHS agencies - the Health Resources and Services Administration, Health Care Financing Administration, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health - recently sponsored a study on this very topic. The resulting report, released on April 20, 2001, found strong and consistent evidence that increased RN staffing is directly related to decreases in the incidence of urinary tract infections, pneumonia, shock, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and decreased hospital length of stay.

    In addition to the important relationship between nurse staffing and patient care, several studies have shown that one of the primary factors for the increasing nurse turnover rate is dissatisfaction with workload/staffing. ANA's recent survey states that 75 percent of nurses surveyed feel that the quality of nursing care at the facility in which they work has declined over the past two years. Out of nearly 7,300 respondents, over 5,000 nurses cited inadequate staffing as a major contributing factor to the decline in quality of care. More than half of the respondents believed that the time they have available for patient care has decreased.

    The University of Pennsylvania research shows that 70-80% of more than 43,000 registered nurses surveyed in five countries reported that there are not enough RNs in hospitals to provide high quality care. Only 33 percent of the American nurses surveyed believed that hospital staffing is sufficient to "get work done." This survey reflects similar findings from a national survey taken by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (1999) that found that 69 percent of nurses reported that inadequate nurse staffing levels were a great concern. The public at large should be alarmed that more than 40 percent of the nurses who responded to the ANA survey stated that they would not feel comfortable having a family member cared for in the facility in which they work.

    Adequate staffing levels allow nurses the time that they need to make patient assessments, complete nursing tasks, respond to health care emergencies, and provide the level of care that these patients deserve. It also increases nurse satisfaction and reduces turnover. For these reasons, ANA supports efforts to require acute care facilities to implement and use a valid and reliable staffing plan based on patient acuity as a condition of participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In addition, we support your efforts to enact upwardly adjustable, minimum nurse to patient staff ratios in skilled nursing facilities. In addition, we support the active implementation of the expert-panel based methodology for nurse staffing and resource management in our Veteran's Affairs Medical Centers.

    MANDATORY OVERTIME

    Nurses across the nation are also expressing concerns about the dramatic increase in the use of mandatory overtime as a staffing tool. We hear that overtime is the most common method facilities are using to cover staffing insufficiencies. Employers may insist that a nurse work an extra shift (or more) or face dismissal for insubordination, as well as being reported to the state board of nursing for patient abandonment. Our concerns about the use of mandatory overtime are directly related to patient safety.

    We know that sleep loss influences several aspects of performance, leading to slowed reaction time, failure to respond when appropriate, false responses, slowed thinking, and diminished memory. In fact, 1997 research by Dawson and Reid at the University of Australia showed that work performance is more likely to be impaired by moderate fatigue than by alcohol consumption.

    Their research shows that significant safety risks are posed by workers staying awake for long periods. It only stands to reason that an exhausted nurse is more likely to commit a medical error than a nurse who is not being required to work a 16 to 20 hour shift. Nurses are placed in a unique situation when confronted by demands for overtime. Ethical nursing practice prohibits nurses from engaging in behavior that they know could harm patients. At the same time, RNs face the loss of their license - their careers and livelihoods - when charged with patient abandonment. Absent legislation, nurses will continue to confront this dilemma. For this reason, ANA supports legislative initiatives to ban the use of mandatory overtime through Medicare and Medicaid conditions of participation.

    I applaud you, Chairman Durbin, for your efforts to develop legislation to ban the use of mandatory overtime through the Medicare Program. ANA endorses this effort because problems arising from mandatory overtime harm patients, nurses and the nursing profession. We also encourage you to work with the Bush Administration to assure that similar overtime protections are enacted for nurses who work in government facilities that are not covered by Medicare law (e.g., VA Medical Centers, the Department of Defense, the Indian Health Service, and prisons).

    WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION

    In addition, nurses must be able to speak out about quality-of-care problems without fear of retaliation or loss of their jobs. Patient advocacy is the heart of nurse's professional commitment. In turn, patients depend on nurses to ensure that they receive proper care. Patients must be assured that nurses and other health care professionals, acting within the scope of their expertise, will be able to speak for them without fear of retaliation.

    Whistleblowing by nurses usually results from concern about issues that jeopardize the health or safety of patients, or occupational safety and health violations that place the employee at risk. Although they are responsible for patient care and well-being, nurses often are powerless when another health care provider performs unethical or life-threatening practices. There have been a number of legal cases involving nurses who have "blown the whistle" on their employers.

    Current whistleblowing laws remain a patchwork of incomplete coverage. For example, the False Claims Act contains a whistleblower provision that applies only in cases of fraud of Federal funds. The Emergency Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) includes protection for patient advocacy, but only for personnel working in the emergency department of a hospital. The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 only applies to federal employees (e.g., VA nurses). This confusing, incomplete coverage leaves many nurses in fear of reprisal. This lack of protection prevents many nurses from taking the risk of trying to protect public health and safety. Reprisal has included dismissal, harassment, and blacklisting. This patient advocacy issue is addressed by a provision in the Bipartisan Patient Protection Act (S. 283, H.R. 526), which ANA strongly supports.
    The Emerging Nurse Shortage

    Today's staffing shortage is compounded by the lack of young people entering the nursing profession, the rapid aging of the RN workforce, and the impending health care needs of the baby boom generation. As new opportunities have opened up for young women and new stresses have been added to the profession of nursing, fewer people have opted to choose nursing as a career. New admissions into nursing schools have dropped dramatically and consistently for the past six years.

    The lack of young people entering nursing has resulted in a steady increase in the average age of the working nurse. Today, the average working RN is over 43 years old. The national average is projected to continue to increase before peaking at age 45.5 in 2010. At that time, large numbers of nurses are expected to retire and the total number of nurses in America will begin a steady decline. At the same time, the need for complex nursing services will only increase. America's demand for nursing care is expected to balloon over the next 20 years due to the aging of the population, advances in technology and various economic and policy factors. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks the occupation of nursing as having the seventh highest projected job growth in the United States.

    The increasing demand for nursing services, coupled with the imminent retirement of today's aging nurse, will soon create a systemic nursing shortage. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that the overall number of nurses per capita will begin to decline in 2007, and that by 2020 the number of nurses will fall nearly 20 percent below requirements.

    Now is the time to address this impending public health crisis. ANA strongly supports both the Nurse Reinvestment Act (S. 706, H.R. 1436) and the Nursing Employment and Education Development Act (S. 721) as both take important steps in alleviating the growing shortage of nurses. Chairman Durbin, I understand that you are working on legislation that contains many similar education initiatives. The ANA and I support you in these efforts because these programs will help boost nursing school enrollments and will encourage existing nurses to go back to school to increase their levels of education. The combination of scholarships, loan repayments and innovative recruitment techniques contained in these bills are much needed.

    ANA wholeheartedly agrees with you that the solution to the nursing shortage lies in the further development of our nation's EXISTING nurse population AND the cultivation of our youth into this very worthwhile profession.

    Immigration

    The ANA and I have deep concerns about the use of immigration as a means to address the emerging nursing shortage. As you are well aware, Chairman Durbin, immigration is the standard "answer" proposed by employers who have difficulty attracting American nurses to work in their facilities. We have been down this road many times before without success. There are a number of problems with increasing the immigration of foreign-trained nurses, following are just a few issues:

    The influx of foreign-trained nurses only serves to further delay debate and action on the serious workplace issues that continue to drive American nurses away from the profession.

    As I mentioned earlier, a Presidential task force called to investigate the last major nursing shortage developed a list of recommendations. These 16 recommendations, released in December, 1988, are still very relevant today - they include issues such as the need to adopt innovative nurse staffing patterns, the need to collect better data about the economic contribution that nurses make to employing organizations, the need for nurse participation in the governance and administration of health care facilities, and the need for increased scholarships and loan repayment programs for nursing students. Perhaps if these recommendations were implemented we would not be here today. Certainly, we will be here in the future if they are ignored.

    There are serious ethical questions about recruiting nurses from other countries when there is a world-wide shortage of nurses. The removal of foreign-trained nurses from areas such as South Africa, India, and the Caribbean deprives their home countries of highly trained health care practitioners upon whose skills and talents their countries heavily rely.

    In addition, immigrant nurses are too often exploited because employers know that fears of retaliation will keep them from speaking up. There are numerous, disturbing examples from our experience with the expired H-1A nurse visa. In fact, several cases came from Illinois. The INS Chicago District issued a $1.29 million fine against FHC Enterprises, Inc. for 645 immigration document violations. FHC, Inc. fraudulently obtained 225 H-1A visas which were used to employ Filipino nurses as lower-paid nurse aides ($6.50 per hour) instead of as registered nurses ($12.50 per hour). The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to pay $50,000 in fines and $384,700 in back wages to 99 Filipino nurses who were underpaid. In Kansas, 66 Filipino nurses were awarded $2.1 million to settle a discrimination case in which the Filipino nurses were not paid the same wage rate as U.S.-born registered nurses at the same facility. These are just a few of the cases that have come to light over the last decade.

    CONCLUSION:

    ANA maintains the current nursing shortage will remain and likely worsen if changes in the workplace are not immediately addressed.

    The profession of nursing will be unable to compete with the myriad of other career opportunities available in today's economy
    unless we improve working conditions.

    Registered nurses, hospital administrators, other health care providers, health system planners, and consumers must come together in a meaningful way to create a system that supports quality patient care and all health care providers.

    We must begin by improving the ENVIRONMENT for nurses.

    ANA looks forward to working with you and our industry partners to make the current health care environment conducive to high quality nursing care. Improvements in the environment of nursing care, combined with aggressive and innovative recruitment efforts will help avert the impending nursing shortage. The resulting stable nursing workforce will support better health care for all Americans."

    Testimony of Anne O'Sullivan, MSN, RN to Congress
    for the American Nurses Association
  7. by   -jt
    and theres more where that came from:

    Statement of the American Nurses Association
    before Senate Committee on Veteran's Affairs
    on Looming Nurse Shortage: Impact on the Department of Veterans Affairs
    June 14, 2001
    Sandra McMeams, RN - staff nurse
    member of the West Virginia Nurses Assoc
    Testifying for the ANA:

    ".....Nurses in VA medical centers in particular are being confronted by staff downsizing, increased patient acuity, shorter hospital stays, bed closures, and flat-lined budgets. These changes have caused such a deterioration in the work environment that nurses are opting not to accept staff nurse positions. Hence the increasing staff vacancy rate being reported by the VHA as well as private health care providers. After all, how many of us would want to work in an environment where we have little to no control over the number of hours that we work, the quality of the work we produce, or the ability to change our work environment? .....

    ....In closing, I would like to reiterate the point that the problems that the Veterans Health Administration is experiencing with nursing recruitment and retention will remain and likely worsen if changes in the workplace are not addressed. In fact, the profession of nursing as a whole will be unable to compete with the myriad of other career opportunities available in today's economy unless we improve working conditions across the board. We must strive to make direct care an attractive vocation for our high-caliber RNs.

    Nurses, administrators, other health care providers, health system planners, and consumers must come together in a meaningful way to create a system that supports quality patient care and all health care providers. We will have to begin by improving the environment for nursing. ANA looks forward to working with you, and our health care provider and union partners to make the current health care environment conducive to high quality nursing care. Improvements in the environment of nursing care, COMBINED with aggressive and innovative recruitment efforts will help avert the impending nursing shortage. The resulting stable supply of high quality nursing care will make great strides in your continuing efforts to address the health care needs of America's veterans."
    Testimony of Sandra McMeams, RN - staff nurse - to Congress
    for the ANA

    and another sample of the ANA's position in the current nursing crisis:

    Testimony of the American Nurses Association
    before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    on Addressing Direct Care Staffing Shortages
    May 17, 2001
    Submitted by the American Nurses Association

    "This statement is offered by the American Nurses Association to support your efforts to improve the recruitment and retention of America's registered nurses (RNS). ANA is the only full-service association representing the interests of the nation's registered nurses through its 54 constituent member nurse associations. With 180,000 members, ANA represents RNS of all educational preparation in all practice settings.

    ANA maintains that no matter how many resources are placed into increasing educational opportunities for nurses, the nursing shortage will remain and likely worsen if changes in the workplace are not also addressed.......... "

    http://www.ana.org/gova/federal/legi...imon/index.htm

    THAT is the position of the ANA - so what are you arguing with? Sounds to me like you are echoing us!
  8. by   -jt
    Testimony of the American Nurses Association
    Before the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies
    Committee on Appropriations
    United States Senate
    On patient safety and medical errors

    Presented by Mary Foley, RN MSN
    President - American Nurses Association

    "......In nursing practice, the scope of responsibility, independent judgment and decision-making has been expanded, while nurses' autonomy and decision-making abilities are more constrained as management systems focus on bottom-line profits over patient safety and quality. Nurses are the single largest labor cost for a hospital and therefore a likely target for cuts. Slashes in operating budgets have resulted in reduced utilization of professional nurses and nursing management oversight positions. These traditional management positions have been most directly responsible for assuring that adequate safety and quality systems are in place. Additionally, some hospital administrators have reasoned that since hospital admissions and lengths of stay have been reduced, fewer nurses are needed to provide patient care. This ignores the fact that the hospitalized patient population is more acutely ill requiring a higher intensity of care.

    Thus, one of ANA's major concerns in the health care delivery system which relates to the prevention of adverse events is the adequacy and appropriateness of staffing. For some time, ANA, the State Nurses Associations (SNAs) and other nurses have identified elements of these troubling workplace trends. Separate studies conducted by ANA and Princeton Survey Research Associates (ANA and Princeton Survey Research Associates, 1996), the American Hospital Association (AHA, 1996) and the National Coalition of Health Care ("National coalition on health care," 1997) all revealed that patients were concerned about the care they were receiving in acute care institutions.

    Subsequently, the New York State Nurses Association published a report which indicated that nurses were caring for up to 15-30 seriously ill patients at a time, making it impossible to deliver quality care. Medication errors and falls were on the rise, RN disciplinary cases were mounting as were RN on-the-job injuries and use of sick time (New York State Nurses Association, 1997).

    In spite of increasing evidence that systems failures, including inadequate and inappropriate staffing, are putting patients at risk, many health care systems continue to assign and emphasize individual "blame" for errors, misjudgments and patient dissatisfaction. Hospital systems and administrators are assuming that the appropriate way to deal with complexity and systems problems is to manage the workers-through oversight and discipline-as opposed to identifying and resolving the central problem in the spirit of partnership.

    Inappropriate staffing may mean too few registered nurses, lack of appropriate training or orientation for an RN assigned to the unit or inappropriate use of unlicensed personnel. Adequate numbers of staff are necessary to reach a minimum level of quality patient care services. ........

    Magnet Nursing Services Recognition Program recognizes excellence in the provision of nursing services and acknowledges those institutions committed to the delivery of quality nursing services. A 1982 study, conducted by the American Academy of Nursing, identified and described variables that created an environment that attracted and retained well-qualified nurses who promoted quality patient care through providing excellence in nursing services.

    ANA believes nurses are the quality and safety monitors of health care. Nurses worry about systems that put providers and patients at risk. Today's environment demands that the nursing profession assert its powerful voice in the time-honored role as patient advocate by supporting public policies that protect consumers, enhance accountability for quality, and promote access to a full range of health care services. However, no system can succeed, no matter how brilliant, if there aren't qualified staff to implement it........"
    Congressional Testimony of the President of the ANA

    http://www.ana.org/gova/federal/legi...n/1999/iom.htm

    Get with the times, Wildtime.
  9. by   -jt
    < As a layman, if someone was to come to me to find solutions to a problem about a shortage of firemen and then told me that my health or my families health was in danger, then the major focus I would have is to find or make new firemen as quickly as I could. More firemen equals no more shortage and end of problem.<


    as a Layman you might think that - IF you had not been listening to anything anyone of the experts was saying. Incidentally, if the scenario were the same as the one with the ANA & Congress, (you being Congress) , no one would be coming to you to find solutions, the firemen would be bringing the solutions to you themselves.



    <As nurses we know that this is not the case. Legislation is being backed by the ANA to educate more nurses, so why would congress not think that bringing more nurses from other countries would not be just as effective and imperative after hearing testimony about the risks to the American public.>


    Because THEY unlike you, are listening to the ENTIRE message, paying attention to the WHOLE testimony, & have heard over & over again from the ANA & its staff RNs as well as other RN members, that BOTH educating new nurses for the future AND repairing conditions & providing other incentives to retain CURRENT nurses are of equal importance and that one effort wont worked without the other.

    Congress is not as confused as you are on this.
  10. by   natalie
    Over 80% of America's nurses never joined/affiliated with ANA. This is in it's 100 year history. When you wonder what ANA was trying to do in all those years, wildtime, do you wonder about the rest of the nurses that never united? How much accountability do you think should be directed to them? Never mind the crap about ANA representing only advanced practice nurses. It doesn't cut. An organization is only as strong as those that belong to it. An organization only becomes as strong as it's members. Staff nurses could have defined ANA a LONG time ago. No excuses.

    Just who painted who into a corner?

    Thank God for ANA.
  11. by   -jt
    There you go again.......confusing things. FYI, I was talking about NEWSPAPER REPORTERS who dont get the story straight. The post was in reply to what was printed in that persons local NEWSPAPER. Not what was said to or understood by Congress. Congress already has the story straight. Basically what youre saying is what has been said to them but you werent there helping to do it, were you? Instead of writing your letters to them here, why dont you get involved in doing it for real?

    You have so many criticisms & suggestions on what the ANA SHOULD be doing (and incidentally refuse to recognize that it is & has been doing those things and much more), why dont you just get in there & do it? Or at least copy your post & send it to the Senate Committee members... or at the very, very least, to your state senator & congressman?


    <The ANA could have been and still could be a leader in the drastic changes we need by focusing their efforts on helping to motivate and empower themselves. >


    It is....... & it is US . Where are you?




    "What Has ANA Done for Me Lately?
    8/17/01

    Keep up with ANA's efforts on behalf of you and your patients regarding such core issues as staffing, health and safety, workplace rights, continuing competence and patient safety/advocacy. In the past two years, the ANA has focused its work on core issues of vital concern to the nation's registered nurses - staffing, health and safety, workplace rights, continuing competence and patient safety/advocacy. In this section of NursingWorld, ANA shares with you what it is doing to address these core issues for you and your patients......... "

    http://www.ana.org/about/lately/ceohome.htm


    If it wasnt for the work of the ANA & its RN members over the past 100 yrs, youd still be washing windows in the wards, expected to stand and give the MD your seat & not even allowed to have a license, be registered, voice an opinion in your pts care, administer IV therapy, or give injections, to name just a few. How much do you know about the last 100 yr history of your profession? "Thank God for the ANA" is right.

    Suggested reading: "Honoring Our Past - Building Our Future"
    available from the New York State Nurses Assoc http://www.NYSNA.org

    You may not agree with our efforts in solving this present nursing crisis (and its beyond me why not) but you cannot negate the effect the ANA has had on advancing our profession...and what it is doing now.... for all nurses.

    I refer you back to excerpts from the Testimony of the American Nurses Association before the US Senate Congressional Hearings on the Nursing Crisis & Direct- Care Nurse Shortage - June 27, 2001:

    ANA Testimony: ".....there is a shortage of positions that these RNs find attractive. Nurses are, understandably, reluctant to accept positions in which they will face inappropriate staffing, be confronted by mandatory overtime, inappropriately rushed through patient care activities, and face retaliation if they report unsafe practices....."

    "......The influx of foreign-trained nurses only serves to further delay debate and action on the serious workplace issues that continue to drive American nurses away from the profession.
    ANA has serious ethical concerns with the recruitment of foreign-trained nurses when there is a worldwide shortage of nurses. O'Sullivan insisted, "We should not look overseas when the real problem is the fact that the U.S. health care industry has failed to maintain a work environment that is conducive to safe, quality nursing practice and that retains experienced American nurses in patient care...."


    ".......ANA maintains the current nursing shortage will remain and likely worsen if changes in the workplace are not immediately addressed. The profession of nursing will be unable to compete with the myriad of other career opportunities available in today's economy unless we improve working conditions. We must begin by improving the ENVIRONMENT for nurses now......"
    ANA Testimony at the US Senate hearings on the Nursing Crisis

    http://allnurses.com/forums/showthre...&threadid=9210

    You are suggesting the ANA do/say something we already have been doing/saying. If you want it said with your own exact words and sentence structure, you'll just have to get involved & say the same thing your way yourself. Or at least send in your letter to the Senate Committee and your state/federal representatives.

    You cant beat us, W, because, although you cant see it, you and we are saying the very same thing... so might as well just join us.... & put your energy where it can do some good & make a difference.
    Last edit by -jt on Aug 30, '01
  12. by   -jt
    <So how much was the ANA and how much was due to nurses and the shortages? >

    I suggest you read the book - "Honoring Our Past - Building Our Future"

    I, being involved and on the inside as a member of the organization, have a very different perspective than someone like you, who is standing on the outside. To anyone who says "the ANA should do this & the ANA should do that", I suggest they get in there & do what they think needs to be done instead of just complaining about it.

    Monday morning quarter-backs never win a Sunday night game.

close