MDs Say: Lack of Nurses Threatens Patient Care in Hospitals and Physician Practices

  1. According to this article, The DOCTORS have come up with solutions to the bedside NURSING "shortage":
    Increase salaries
    Cut paperwork
    Talk to the employers
    Increase the use of LPNs for "menial labor"

    <<Physicians Recommend Actions to Forestall Shortages

    Targeted steps must be taken now to improve nurse recruitment and retention as the nursing shortage worsens, according to recommendations released by the American College of Physicians - American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM).

    "Without an adequate supply of nurses, patient care suffers," said Sara Walker, MD, MACP, president of ACP-ASIM. "The health care community, legislators, and local policy leaders must move quickly to eliminate barriers to rewarding work place experience for nurses , to increase nursing educational opportunities, and to encourage young people to choose nursing as a career."

    In addition to expanding recruitment efforts to school age children, ACP-ASIM has called upon state and federal legislators to provide tuition reimbursement programs for nursing students and improved loan-repayment programs.

    "The population of Americans aged 65 years and older will double between 2000 and 2030," said Dr. Walker. " To meet this increasing demand for nursing services, we must seek to attract men and minorities who are under-represented in the current nursing population."

    A newly released paper "Addressing the Nation's Nursing Shortage: Recommendations of the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine" also recommends actions to improve the practicing environment for nurses and increase retention. Reduction of administrative tasks, increased use of Licensed Professional Nurses (LPNs) for less skilled tasks, and improving communications with hospital management head the list.

    "Nurse burnout is clearly a factor that we must address," stated Dr Walker. "Nurses play a vital role in the health care team and their expertise should not be squandered on paperwork and menial labor."

    The College recommends creation of effective staffing plans that ensure quality and safe patient care by considering nurse experience and qualifications, rather than simple staff-to-patient ratios. ACP-ASIM also recommends that employers provide adequate compensation to attract and retain nursing staff. To meet this goal, insurers, particularly the Medicare program, must adequately increase funding to account for increased salaries for skilled nursing professionals.

    Recent estimates of unfilled nursing positions revealed 126,000 open nursing positions in hospitals. Physician practices report they are having greater difficulty hiring nurses to supervise clinical staff and perform higher-level duties, waiting longer to hire nursing staff, and offering higher salaries to attract qualified candidates. Since 1980, the number of Registered Nurses under age 35 has decreased by over fifty percent and enrollment in
    Bachelor of Science and Nursing programs has been steadily declining for the past six years.

    The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine is the nation's largest medical specialty organization and the second largest physician group. Membership encompasses more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students.
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    About -jt

    Joined: Oct '00; Posts: 2,662; Likes: 46


  3. by   oramar
    I hate to pop up and start finding fault with this statement, I am so glad they made it. Here is the problem. Patient care is not just threatened, people are are all ready dying because there is no one around to do what nurses do. Also, we tend to measure the quality of care in number of deaths but it is much more complicated than that. You can do a whole lot of damage mental and physical without killing someone.
  4. by   hapeewendy
    wow those physicians are real brainiacs arent they?
    too bad they say what nurses pretty much everywhere have been saying for years.....that patient care is comprimised due to staff nurse shortages.
    this isnt news....they can offer as many suggestions as they want, it takes acting upon those suggestions to make a difference.....
    increase salaries, cut paperwork, talk to the employers and hire more LPN's all sound good, but I dont see it happening at all where I live.....
    it would be nice though, wouldnt it?
  5. by   Cascadians
    It's bad in hospitals. It's even worse in homecare, where patients discharged way too early, with complications and endless needs, certainly do not get proper care.

    Just getting a patient safely home with accurate med list, discharge papers, and a Visiting Nurse ordered is a herculean job. Gotta have an Dr-ordered RN coming thru approved Medicare channels: free to patient.

    Family will not pay; they're not nursing oriented, don't understand; Drs need to make sure f/u with homecare or soon back in the hospital patient goes.

    Drs need to go back to housecalls to understand what's going on out there.

    "Prevention is worth a pound of cure"

    Need an old housewives committee overseeing all health care to return to practical common sense!
  6. by   Marj Griggs
    >>-MDs Say: Lack of Nurses Threatens Patient Care in Hospitals and Physician Practices <<

    My reaction when I read this was "No Sh-t, Sherlock"
  7. by   Harleyhead
    well put marj:As stated prior no action forthcoming from administration.
  8. by   fab4fan
    How interesting...when the doc's pocketbooks are threatened, THEN it's a crisis.

    How humiliating to have to be seen driving last year's Lexus!
  9. by   Flo1216
    Also, the problem is that I think a lot of people still have no idea what nurses actually do. Many people, especially older people imply that nurses merely wipe butts and give meds and walk 5 paces behind the doctor.
  10. by   Rustyhammer
    We all know too well what the problems are and we all know of solutions too.
    But it will take (I'm afraid) a few disasters to wake up the world.
  11. by   NRSKarenRN
    Malpractice crisis hurts prenatal care programs
    Two large community programs in Las Vegas that help women get access to prenatal care regardless of their ability to pay are in jeopardy because of the state's malpractice insurance crisis.

    Las Vegas Sun, July 1, 2002
  12. by   -jt
    Had one of our older attending surgeons sitting at the desk the other day writing notes on his pt when he overheard an exchange between an RN & a surgical resident about another pt.

    The RN was giving her observations to the resident & making a suggestion for the pts care. The resident cut her short & flatly told her no. The RN persisted & gave her rationale. The resident said with disgust "I want it this way" & walked away as the RN was talking to her. The RN followed her & asked for a rationale for not making the change she felt the pt needed. The resident said "because Im the MD & I told you this is how its going to be".

    The attending surgeon, who was not this particular pts doctor, went to the resident, pulled her aside & angrily told her never to speak to an RN in that way again - "she is an educated, skilled professional & your partner - the pts life depends on her - not you. And your practice depends on her too. When she tells you something about the pt - pay attention to it! What you just did is one of the reasons why there may be no nurses left to care for the pts you operate on when youre finished here. If you want to be a doctor, learn the value of the RNs caring for your pts!"

    He always had our respect even before this and he would have gotten a standing ovation for this but then he would have known we were eavesdropping.
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 3, '02
  13. by   oramar
    I wish we had a smiley clapping it's hands for that doc -jt.
  14. by   hoolahan
    Me too!! Clapping smiley!!!!!!