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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?