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Will Health Care Reform Exacerbate the Nursing Shortage?

Posted Jun 12 2009 12:00am 1 Comment

The subject of health care reform is talked about in every sort of media outlet. Newspapers and TV news programs are rife with reports of what is or isn’t happening in the crusade to provide better health care in our country. It is my opinion that everyone should have access to health care but I certainly don’t have the answers as to how it should be accomplished. It is a massive and complicated problem that should’ve been dealt with before it grew to these proportions.

But, let’s just say that, by some miracle, a practical solution is found and enacted. Great news? Problem solved? Maybe new problems?

I frequently write in this blog about the nursing shortage. There are so many aspects to it that it is a fertile subject for ideas to discuss. But, here is an obvious aspect that I hadn’t thought of until I read about it in a nursing newsletter.

Health care reform is intended to help the uninsured and underinsured receive the care they need. If, indeed, that happens, vast numbers of those who have delayed seeking care will likely do so. The nursing shortage is expected to reach a critical stage in just a few years due to, among other things, the large numbers of aging baby boomers who will need medical care. Add to that large numbers of people newly covered in some way that opens the door to healthcare access and the nursing shortage balloons into an even bigger problem.

I am for health care reform. I want everyone to have access to care. I want there to be enough nurses to care for those who need them. We need more nurses! Perhaps the first order of business by this administration and congress should be to solve the problem of how to educate greater numbers of nurses before they do anything to create an even larger shortage.

What do you think? Please let me know your opinion.

Comments (1)
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I've been an LPN for 12 years.  Vastly underappreciated, LPN's perform the exact  nursing duties of the RN with the exception being IV's (unless IV certified.)  Currently, I am in school to obtain my RN licensure with an associates degree in nursing.  On the first day of school, the PhD and masters-level nursing instructors impressed upon us that although we will be graduating as RN's, no one will hire us because we are ADN-RN's and hospitals will overlook us for the BSN-RN.  Regardless of the letters, we all do the exact same job and besides an additional course in philosophy that the BSN-RN's have, we learn virtually the same information in school.  The nursing shortage that is and that will be with the recently passed Health Reform, can be lightened through a more efficient use of our existing LPNs and ADN-RN's.  As I've seen throughout my healthcare career, it depends less on the initials at the end of a name, than it does on the integrity of the individual to whom the initials belong. 

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