Nurse Leaders Gather in Hershey to Address Pennsylvania's Nursing Shortage


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from psna:

nurse leaders from across state gather in hershey to address pennsylvania's nursing shortage

nursing leaders from around pennsylvania gathered on friday, august 16, 2002 at the hotel hershey to discuss the problems and possible solutions to the nursing shortage crisis, which threatens the quality of healthcare throughout the state.

the pennsylvania state nurses association (psna) hosted the leadership forum, which allowed nurse educators, administrators and other experts to exchange views and information on topics surrounding the shortage. presentations and workgroup discussions were a part of the forum in an effort to cultivate strategies and establish a statewide nursing shortage platform. the recently released jcaho (joint commission on accreditation of healthcare organizations) study was used as a guideline for the workgroup discussions, which focused primarily on nursing education, retention and legislation.

margarete lieb zalon, phd, rn, cs, psna president, acknowledges the attempts to raise awareness among healthcare professionals, but believes the crisis already is here. "we need to look at the healthcare system as a whole," she said. "a coordinated effort among staff, administration and other nurse associations is needed for adequate staffing and to eliminate this shortage."

a pennsylvania survey cited a 40 percent decline in the number of people who choose nursing as a profession; and a 41 percent dissatisfaction rate of working nurses. of the 165,000 registered nurses in the state of pennsylvania, 123,000 are working in nursing. for the first time in history, less than 60 percent of registered nurses are working in hospitals.

state rep. pat vance, r-cumberland, a nurse who has been an active supporter of healthcare legislation, urged the group to become more vocal on their own behalf and to help change the perceptions and stereotypes of nursing in their communities. "we must dispel the notion that all nurses must be women," she said, emphasizing the importance of recruiting minorities and reaching younger audiences about the opportunities in nursing.

forum speaker donna s. havens, phd, rn, elouise ross eberly professor of nursing, pennsylvania state university, school of nursing; stated that rns are essential to quality healthcare delivery and that 95 person of the care given in hospitals is by a nurse. "fewer nurses means less access to care," said havens.

other speakers included laurie murray, dsn, rn, chair and associate professor, cedar crest college and immediate past president, phensa; patricia hillebrand, fache, cs, rn, consultant, sharon regional health system and president, pa organization of nurse leaders; and joanne hambleton, msn, rn, can, vice-president, nursing and patient care services, fox chase cancer center.

major areas of concern among the group included: work environment; recruitment and retention; education; technology; financing; leadership; legislation and government funding for nursing.

psna officials announced that the data compiled from today's forum will be used to produce a statewide platform to be disseminated to hospitals, state legislators, pennsylvania nursing education programs and other state nursing organizations, as well as at their annual summit oct. 4-5 at the marriott in harrisburg.


1 Article; 5,758 Posts

Will watch the media for news coming out of this forum. Expect it to be interesting. I watch Pat Vance at Pa. House hearings occasionally on TV. Some times she stands in at the chair. Not exactly sure how that works. How a person comes to be address as chair person.


603 Posts

I see they picked a city which will have no CHOCOLATE shortage!


1 Article; 5,758 Posts

You know I meant to say something witty about the Hershey connections but I frequently forget to be witty.


52 Posts

By the time I was 22, I had lost both my parents to cancer. I am now 29 and going into my last year of Nursing school for my associates degree in PA. Why did I choose nursing? Because I remember the nurses that took care of my mom and dad, I could still spot them on the street I bet. I wanted to be one of those people, I want to ease someones pain and help a family deal with their pain, I want to be able to be remembered by someone in a heartful way because I may have eased their loved ones death or helped them heal, or I just held a family members hand. Its amazing the impact some nurses can make in ones life and never know it. I can guarantee the nurses that took care of my mom and dad have no idea how much I still appreciate them to this day.

As I enter my last year, I read this article. As I enter my last year, people tell me: "Nursing is nothing that you expect", "Youll do nothing but stress and get no respect", "Youre going to work long hours." And the best one........(drum roll)..."Hey! Youre in nursing school? Theres such a shortage, youre going to make so much money!!" Money? I should be excited of a shortage because Ill make money? Someone may die because of this shortage and it baffles me that people dont say to me...."Youre in nursing school? Theres a huge shortage, its great that patients have one more person to care for them"

Now I read theres a 41% rate of dissatisfaction with jobs among nurses. I am scared. We all went to nursing school because we have a heart unlike others. We care, we do all we can to save someones life, we talk to patients, we hold their hand, we do things other people wouldnt dream of doing, and it was our choice. Where do we go now? We all have to work together and figure out how we can make our work environment better, we cannot sit and wait to see what happens in these meetings. Theres been a shortage for way to long and I can guarantee many lives could have been saved if nurses were treated fairly, and in turn nurses would not change professions, and nursing students as I will not be scared away from the profession by all the negativity. I will graduate in May, I will be a nurse, and I will do all I can to give the best care possible for every patient I encounter. I will do it for my mom and dad, I will do it for someone elses mom and dad.

I want to help nurses get the treatment they deserve, this problem can fix a chain link of problems with this epidemic. How can I help you guys? Can I write a letter, make a call? Do anything? I know I am only a student, but we have to all care for each other as much as we do our patients, we will all be happier, there will be more of us, and a life can be saved. Thanks for letting me vent, I wish you all the best of luck......Dont give up!!!


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