Category Archives: Health Care Workers

Professional Nurse Workforce Dilemmas : Understanding and Responding to a Dynamic and Complex Market

Source: Randall R. Bovbjerg, Barbara A. Ormond, Nancy M. Pindus, Urban Institute, July 2009

From the abstract:
Nurses are health care’s backbone, spending the most time with patients and adding value within institutional teams of caregivers and in providing ambulatory primary care. Short-term shortages wax and wane as employers seek to hire at accustomed prices. More seriously, the next decade may see more older nurses retiring than new ones entering the workforce, so education needs to be augmented and improved. But no precise estimation method can show how many nurses society “should” produce. Policy should focus more on nurses’ scopes of practice and aligning how they are treated and paid with the value they add to patient care.

Can You Get What You Pay For? Pay-for-Performance and the Quality of Healthcare Providers

Source: Kathleen J. Mullen, Richard G. Frank, & Meredith B. Rosenthal, RAND Working Paper Series No. WR- 680, April 14, 2009

From the abstract:
Despite the popularity of pay-for-performance (P4P) among health policymakers and private insurers as a tool for improving quality of care, there is little empirical basis for its effectiveness. The authors use data from published performance reports of physician medical groups contracting with a large network HMO to compare clinical quality before and after the implementation of P4P, relative to a control group. They consider the effect of P4P on both rewarded and unrewarded dimensions of quality. In the end, they fail to find evidence that a large P4P initiative either resulted in major improvement in quality or notable disruption in care.

The Recent Surge In Nurse Employment: Causes And Implications

Source: Peter I. Buerhaus, David I. Auerbach and Douglas O. Staiger, Health Affairs, Vol. 28 no. 4, July 2009
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From the abstract:
In this paper we examine the recession’s impact on current RN employment and on projections of the future size of the nurse workforce. Clarifying the effect of the recession on RN employment can help employers and policymakers anticipate the possibility that the long-standing nurse shortage is finally winding down. But before concluding that it is safe to turn attention away from the nurse workforce, we examine trends in the composition of the RN workforce that lie underneath the recent employment changes. This assessment suggests the need to strengthen the current workforce before the recession lifts and imbalances in the supply and demand for RNs reappear. Next, we focus on the future workforce and project the age and supply of RNs through 2025, noting the impact of the recession on these projections. We conclude with policy implications to support the current nurse workforce and remove barriers that are blocking efforts to expand the long-term supply of RNs.

2009 Nurse Earnings Survey

Source: James Fraleigh, RN Magazine, July 2009

For many American workers, the last 2 years have seen a growing storm of stagnant wages, eroding benefits, and feared or actual layoffs. But as recession swamped the economy, the majority of nurses who participated in RN’s biennial earnings survey have enjoyed rising fortunes.

Defying the grim statistics, just over half of our respondents got a raise in the last seven months, with the other half earning one more than seven months ago. On average, raises were 3.2% over their previous wages, which beat or matched 79% of participants’ last increases. Since our 2007 survey, the average annual base pay of salaried nurses (typically in management or administrative positions) grew 10%, or $6,746, to $75,180. Nurses paid by the hour fared even better; their average base earnings rose 13% ($7,460), to $64,018. Combined, nurses received $7,270 more on average, for a 12% raise to an overall base pay of $65,653.

But a few nursing specialties and settings bucked this trend with smaller raises or even declines; hospitals and other medical settings aren’t immune to economic pressures.