Nurses Testify to Congress 8/1/01

  1. Statement for the
    Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health
    on Authorizing Safety Net Public Health Programs:
    Nursing Shortages
    Presented by
    Diana Baker, RN, BSN
    for the American Nurses Association
    August 1, 2001



    ".......In addition to enhanced nurse education programs, ANA urges this Subcommittee to take a deeper look into nurse workforce issues. It is important to realize that demographics are not the only cause for the emerging nursing shortage. Current staffing problems are inexorably tied to changes in nurse employment practices over the last decade............"

    "...... this report shows that 43 percent of American nurses score higher than expected on measures of job burnout. It is a sad fact that staff nurses typically burn out and leave hospital bedside nursing after just four years of employment......"

    ".....This discontent is prompting an alarming number of our experienced RNs to abandon nursing. The 2000 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses shows that a large number of nurses (500,000 nurses - more than 18 percent of the total nurse workforce) who have active licenses are not working in nursing. Clearly, something in the practice setting is driving these nurses away from their chosen profession......"

    "......Recent reports by the General Accounting Office, the Congressional Research Service, academia and private market research indicated that....................."

    for full text of testimony see: http://www.ana.org/gova/federal/legi...2001/baker.htm
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  2. 1 Comments

  3. by   Mijourney
    Hi -jt. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. The article indicates that the ANA seems to be placing all of its wagers on the government being the primary means of solving the nursing shortage. Although not adversed to the government, I'm a bit concerned about this. This version of the nursing shortage was created by a domino effect that was partially led by the government. But, it was in concert with a market-driven economy, an increased consumer appetite for health and medical care, changes in demographics and population, and changes in the global economy among others.

    I believe I read in the article that the last round of proposals on the table from the last shortage did not get any teeth to have any real impact on the shortage. It was individual employers across the country that had to step up to the plate to take care of problems in their yard. Unfortunately, I don't think it'll be any different this time. But, more importantly, I don't believe individual employers will be able to have a far reaching impact on growing nursing shortages. I think the problem is already systemic. It will take more than an act of Congress, private industry, individuals, and the Supreme Court to get us out of this mess, I feel.

    I know I'm not being very hopeful in this post, but what I think will end up happening is that various informal coalitions of dedicated and committed nurses and their supporters across the country will have a positive impact at the local level. This may or may not have a wide reaching effect, but I think the glory days are over if there ever were any. I feel this is true for teachers and law enforcement as well. Sadly, nurses, along with teachers and the police who are primarily the glue in a civilized society are simply never going to regain the posture and respect needed to have a overall positive force on a society's ability to lead a good quality of life. It's a sign of the times.

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Nurses Testify to Congress 8/1/01