you know, i've talked about this once before here several years ago, and many people actually got incensed and irate, and called me a troll for even offering up the idea. but good ideas should not die, so here it goes again.
make nursing a tax free employment option.
here's why, it would not only entice more people into nursing, but in the long run it would actually help employers towards hiring more nurses. consider that when someone applies for a job and calculates his take home; that is the figure that determines whether a career is economically viable or not. while people may not want to flip bedpans, they may do it if their take home salaries are good enough. consider that the federal government takes roughly 25% of a nurses' income, what if that 25% was added back into the paycheck? what would happen?
first, employers would thank the government because the feds just gave their nurses a raise and it didn't cost them a dime. the money saved could go towards many other patient care things, including hiring more nurses. it would be as if someone gave their payroll budget a 25% increase. secondly, downstream from this, is the fact that people would be attracted to a profession that is "tax free" in some sense. at any rate, it would goes towards keeping many in the profession who are choosing to abandon ship after a few bedside years.
note, this idea does not need to be enacted fully at 100%. it could also come in the form of federal tax incentives, percentage rated rebates, say for years of service, whatever. my point is, that the federal government could do a lot more than what it has. if nursing "shortages" can be mitigated by h1b visas, then a change of a few lines in the tax code is not without possibility. further, don't let anyone tell you that there isn't a shortage, there is; when a patient rings that bell and a nurse doesn't answer, that is a shortage. it's the politics and economics of nursing that has also contributed to that and we can see what has happened.
no nurses at the bedside while thousands are standing in the street begging for a job?
what the hell is wrong with that picture?
imho, employers need to be able to financially shoulder hiring more nurses. it it takes the federal government to subsidize this by making nurses a tax favored profession, then just do it. a plan such as the above would not only create more nurses, but ensure that those nurses being produced have impact at the bedside; the final judge overall is more positive patient care outcomes.