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  • Tom Boyd

Healthcare’s Mixed Message?

1. There is pressure and advocacy from the academic nursing world and nursing professional unions to require that all registered nurses have a four year degree or BSN instead of a two year degree.

I will pass on the argument that they are doing so to make their services more valued and better compensated. I will accept the argument:

“Repeat studies over the years have shown that there are fewer patient safety issues if the patients are cared for by nurses with higher degrees, like BSNs,” said Cheryl Wagner, PhD, associate dean of graduate nursing programs at American Sentinel University in Aurora, Colo. “These findings, along with a realization within the profession that you can’t learn all you need to learn about nursing in two years, has really caused a push among hospitals for all nurses to have a BSN in order to be considered entry level.” Healthcare Finance News 3/12/13

2. “Analysis: Job quality endangers long-term care industry” Healthcare Finance News 3/15/11

• Direct-care workers are so underpaid that many live in poverty. • Hourly wages for home health aides and personal care assistants are under $8. • 45 percent of direct-care workers live in households earning below 200 percent of the federal poverty income level and 46 percent depend on public assistance such a food stamps, Medicaid and child care, housing or energy assistance.

3. “Immigration reform may solve long-term care worker shortage” Healthcare Finance New 3/12/13

Observation ——————- Health care costs will increase for many reasons including due to better educated and compensated nurses while at the same time our solution to the shortage of poorly paid PCA and aides may be to hire immigrants who often are poorly skilled, poorly trained and with poor communications skills. I can see a health care world where the RN making $90 an hour will be complaining about having to supervise too many aides that make $9 an hour and also rightly complaining that she has no time to see the patient.

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