One More Reason to Get Steamed

It’s obvious that the weather needs to improve so I can get back to my extended walks. Though lack of exercise may contribute only slightly to my rising blood pressure, reading articles like this definitely gets me steamed.

Does anyone but cheap-labor Republicans and the American Hospital Association really believe this is the best solution to America’s nursing shortage? After all, American students are clamoring to get into training to become nurses badly needed in Hospitals but there aren’t enough schools to provide that training. Why’s that? At least one major reason identified in the story is that teachers in nursing school are often paid less than nurses, particularly nurses in supervisory positions.

Wouldn’t the best solution to this problem be a government subsidy for nursing teaching positions? That way thousands of students would be able to attain strong, middle class jobs that would help to ensure they and their children’s future.

Admittedly it would take additional taxes to fund this training, but unless I’m mistaken providing education is one of the accepted functions of government. Statistics seem to show such costs are more than repaid by those who receive the training, either through the payment of higher taxes because of higher wages or, indirectly, through the services they provide to society.

Why, then did Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, the same guy running for President who was recently featured in a long Playboy article, include a provision in the immigration bill that “removes the limit on the number of nurses who can immigrate??

Under this provision it’s expected that hospital recruiters ?would focus on countries with large numbers of well-trained nurses, mainly the Philippines, India and China,? though there are concerns that they will even be drawn from Africa where nurses are desperately needed.

Ignoring the embarrassing fact that these poor countries somehow managed to afford to train nurses that we cannot afford to train, it seems inherently unfair to siphon off the best and brightest workers from countries struggling to maintain healthcare systems. Even worse many of these “nurses? were actually trained as doctors but are willing to accept work as nurses in America in order to qualify for the high wages paid by American hospitals.

It also seems painfully clear that the main reason for this provision is to recruit nurses at rock-bottom wages. Since hospitals can’t outsource jobs to foreign countries like so many other businesses can, they’ll do the next best thing, bring foreigners here to work. I wonder if they’ll argue like computer companies that it’s impossible to find qualified workers here in America?

7 thoughts on “One More Reason to Get Steamed

  1. Something doesn’t add up. The premise is that there’s a shortage of nursing school teachers because people won’t teach skills that qualify students for high paying work when they can earn more doing that work than they can by teaching. Is that true of other disciplines? How do they find law school or business professors? I’d imagine there are plenty of people who are trained in nursing that just don’t like doing that work or who prefer the classroom. I know people now who are in nursing school. I’m going to ask them how full their classes are and whether they had to search for a school with an opening.

  2. Let’s take a deep breath…symptoms often seem like the disease…policy…as a weak excuse for…? shall we take turns to fill in the blank_____?
    Discourse and reason are creatures of another age…when something more primal raise its head…if we don’t, those of us able bodied, raise the level of dialogue…it will remain as it is…frustrating…unfathomable…and unfortunately… rhetoric. No disrespect intended…but if we can’t attract broader thought, above the dialogue, there will be no rescue…
    no light…and certainly no solution…let’s get past the policy…lets remember…who we are…aim a bit higher, and truly carry the candle into the dark …
    how can we become… involved, day to day, real world…?

  3. this sounds absolutely scandalous, and your point about siphoning off nurses from countries which can scarcely afford to lose them is well made. it’s sad that nursing seems to be being defined as a kind of menial labour, suitable only for the immigrant underclass. something similar is happening here, and with the teaching profession too. no-one wants to roll their sleeves up and get their hands dirty any more. everyone wants to be an administrator cracking the whip and attending meetings. small wonder nothing gets done.

  4. Well, one nurse agreed there WAS a teacher shortage and that it was linked to pay. University instructors have to have a masters, which is also required in administrative positions, where, she said, nurses can make $80+/hour in metropolitan areas. She didn’t say that there was a waiting list for student admission but that schools thin out applicants by raising academic performance requirements. I saw postings on a local university website for 4 open positions for clinical nursing instructors.

  5. I suspect it’s extremely difficult to determine exactlly how many nurses are being eliminated from the market because they can’t get training, but I notice that the University of Washington also uses grade average to turn away candidates.

    Doubtlessly, many students never bother to apply once they learn what grade average is needed to gain entrance.

What do you think?