Direct-care workers make up a low-wage, high-turnover workforce, but the demand is growing for long-term care by an aging U.S. population
• Quick Facts on Registered Nurses (RNs)
• Registered nurses (RNs), regardless of specialty or work setting, perform basic duties that include treating patients, educating patients and the public about various medical conditions, and providing advice and emotional support to patients’ family members.
• Registered Nurses (RNs) continue to be the healthcare occupation with the largest employment-2.5 million jobs. This is nearly three times the number of physicians and surgeons at 863,000.
Source: Melanie Evans, Modern Healthcare, Vol. 37 no. 41, October 15, 2007
One of healthcare’s biggest nurses unions squared off against more than a dozen California hospitals last week, the latest example of labor’s push to exercise its clout across the healthcare industry.
Federal funding received by local health departments for all-hazards emergency preparedness fell 20 percent last year, according to a new report by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The report says that continued cuts in funding provided through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) threaten important, hard-won advances made in recent years in response planning to natural disasters, bio-terrorism events, emerging infectious diseases, and other public health emergencies.
National Preparedness Month
Source: Ayse P. Gurses, Pascale Carayon, Nursing Research, Volume 56, Issue 3, May/June 2007
From a summary:
A hospital intensive care unit (ICU) is typically an emotionally intense, loud, cramped, and stressful environment. ICU nurses face numerous obstacles to providing care to their critically ill patients, according to a new study of 217 nurses from 17 ICUs at 7 Wisconsin hospitals.
Community health workers are essential to the U.S. public health system. They work in diverse settings and under myriad titles to improve access to health care for underserved populations using culturally appropriate methods. Despite their importance, community health workers are often not well rewarded, and their job tenure is unstable. Well-defined career paths are lacking, as are systematic skills sets and credentials recognized across work settings and usable for higher education. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SkillWorks asked JFF to recommend adaptations of the initiative’s Workforce Partnership model in order to apply that approach to career advancement for community health workers. As the basis for these recommendations, JFF conducted research on the challenges to and national best practices for the advancement of community health workers.
Source: Cynthia A. Bascetta, testimony before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of Representatives, United States Government Accountability Office, GAO-07-1229T, September 10, 2007
Six years after the attack on the World Trade Center (WTC), concerns persist about health effects experienced by WTC responders and the availability of health care services for those affected. Several federally funded programs provide screening, monitoring, or treatment services to responders. GAO has previously reported on the progress made and implementation problems faced by these WTC health programs.
From the summary:
This new report, The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Fire Fighters and EMS Responders, along with its accompanying computer-based educational program, presents background information on normal sleep physiology and the health and performance effects of sleep deprivation. Countermeasures for sleep deprivation are reviewed, which relate to identifying those particularly susceptible to risks of sleep deprivation, individual mitigating strategies and work-related issues. The project was supported by a cooperative agreement between the IAFC and the United States Fire Administration (USFA), with assistance from the faculty of Oregon Health & Science University.
From a summary:
In this article, researchers presented findings from the first wave of a three-year panel study on the work experience of newly licensed nurses. A randomly selected sample of 3,266 newly licensed RNs from 60 sites across the country participated in the study. RNs completed a multipage survey that addressed several aspects of their current employment.
Many nurses and physicians are among the baby boomers who will start to retire in the next three to five years. The federal government is predicting that by 2020, nurse and physician retirements will contribute to a shortage of approximately 24,000 doctors and nearly 1 million nurses. While hospital leaders voice much of the concern over possible shortages, the implications extend throughout the labor-intensive, trillion-dollar United States health system. It’s expensive to educate new nurses and doctors. Taxpayer-funded Medicare spends $8 billion a year for residence training of physicians alone.
While the U.S. has more physicians and nurses today than ever before, they are not distributed or deployed efficiently. Shortage projections tend to be built around today’s often dysfunctional system, which makes them problematic. However, while future shortages are certainly worrisome, the bigger issue for health industry leaders today lies in orchestrating care in an increasingly complex and converging healthcare labor market.