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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

Road to Healthcare Reform

Published June 22, 2009 9:50 AM by Stacey Miller

Anyone who lives in an area where a major road construction project has been planned has probably experienced this. You go to a meeting at the local high school or community center where Department of Transportation engineers explain the proposed location of each route, compare the costs of constructing each route and, of most concern to the community, whether any route will cut through homeowners' properties and displace them.

Later this summer, a similar scene will play out in Washington. Two Senate committees, three House committees, as well as a group of former senators, are currently designing individual plans to reform healthcare in the U.S. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee released the first draft of its 600-plus-page Affordable Health Choices Act last week.

The other committees too are focused on expanding coverage, improving care and cutting costs. Their drafts are still in the works.

Yet, by the end of the summer, members of each house of Congress are expected to nail down their reform plans and ways to pay for them into one plan and send the bill to President Obama in the fall for approval.

Of course, like those highway projects, the road to healthcare reform isn't expected to be smooth sailing, and could come to a sudden halt or derail completely.

As the healthcare reform debate heats up, ADVANCE for Nurses will follow the goings-on inside the Capital Beltway, get opinions from nursing associations and explain how the reform will affect ordinary taxpayers.

In the meantime, tune in to ABC on Wednesday, June 24 at 10 p.m. when President Obama will speak about his plans for healthcare reform.    

14 comments

Truth is Nurses will be cut, salaries will go down.  ER's will be overburdened.  Nurses will be less educated.  You can not have a public funded healthcare system that is truely successful unless the "public"  i.e... the goverment, controlls every aspect of every persons life  What you eat, how many children you have, how much you weigh, how much exercise you do.  Where does it end,  when we must provide services to criminal aliens, who do not put into the system.  People that make the most money now will continue to make the most money.  Nurses will be replaced with techs due to cost saving measures.  The ANA has never been an effective force,  they have allowed this healthcare reform bill that is mainly not about healthcare, but about diverting OUR monies into their pockets to be past.  I will not tell young people to even go into nursing because as it is going now we will be replaced with tech, emt's and cna's where ever possible.  The overall health of this country will become sick.  The most frustrating and concerning thing is that i have other nurses telling me all these changes are good,  are you kidding me how many people have even read this bill.

Cami, ER - RN, community hospital October 10, 2010 6:12 AM
AE

I AM VERY AFRAID FOR MY FAMILY AND THAT OF THE ENTIRE HEALTH COMMUNITY!!! I HAVE A FLOAT RN POSITION RIGHT NOW AND AM A CHEMO CERT RN...I DO NOT HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE THROUGH MY HOSPITAL RIGHT NOW BUT CHOSE TO PAY EXTRA.. I MAKE MORE BECAUSE I AM A FLOAT RN... I UNDERSTAND MORE THEN MOST ABOUT NEEDING HEALTH CARE DUE TO A SON WITH DIABETES ETC AND OUR INSURANCE IS TERRIBLE WITH A VERY HIGH COST!!! BUT I HAVE TO SAY EVEN THOUGH THE ECONOMY IS HORRIBLE AND MY HUSBANDS JOB BUILDING MILLION DOLLAR HOMES  IS NOW OVER AND  HE CAN BARLEY FIND A JOB REMODELING A BATHROOM AND WE  STILL CANT MAKE THE MORTAGE ...I CANT BEAR THE THOUGHT OF THIS BILL PASSING....OH MY GOD WHAT WILL HAPPEN THEN.......1 MY SALARY WILL GO DOWN 2 NURSES WILL BE CUT 3 I AM THE BREADWINNER  NOW AND WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SUPPORT MY FAMILY 4 WE WILL NOT HAVE NEW NURSES THAT WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL 5 WE WILL LOSE HIGHLY TECH RNS 6 WE WORK SO HARD NOW AND FEEL SO UNDERPAID MOST NURSES IF NOT NEW GRADS WILL LEAVE THE PROFESSION LEAVING AMERICA IN THE DARK AGES....GOD HELP US I AM SO AFRATD FOR ALL OF US.....

elizabeth bailey, oncology - RN, psjmc March 22, 2010 12:20 AM
joliet IL

B-

I challenge you to work along side any nurse for a week and tell me that they are paid more than they are worth. Have you ever been in a hospital? Who is at the bedside 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Nurses. Physicians do not endure the amount of emotional duress and verbal abuse that nurses do. We get it from patients, their families and doctors. Is there really any amount of pay that is worth that? Add our knowledge and skills to that and the pay we get is WAY less than we deserve. Do not speak about what you do not know.

Heather, ICU - RN, CCRN, MSOH December 24, 2009 11:18 AM
San Antonio TX

B-In regards to your comment, you are obviously not a Dr yet, because if you were, I bet you would realized that Dr's and RN's are not overpaid, they are underpaid. You have no idea what is involved. If you're willing to take a pay cut for your potential career why dont you just move to a socialist country and practice medicine if and when you graduate from medical school and residency...

For those of us that chose nursing as a profession, I'm afraid there will be a mass exodus in an already understaffed field. Why would I keep doing what I'm doing for less money? There's too much pressure and risk in our jobs-we have people's lives in our hands!

Jill, pediatrics - Nurse Manager, hospital December 18, 2009 12:06 PM
Kansas City MO

The ratio of nurse to patient is already to the extreme.There are not enough nurses to patients currently.A day in the life of a nurse is not by any means easy, and I don't agree that we are paid fairly for all that we do.To cut back salary would not ring in more nurses, which is exactly what we need.We are in every way, shape and form the backbone of the hospitals!If the shortage is not addressed before this new plan goes into effect, the result will be horrible!More than anything, it is going to effect the care we will be able to deliver to the patient population.It is a safety concern!As an ICU nurse, I can honestly say, I could not handle any more than the current ratio I have on board, nor would I want to chance it.So I truly hope Congress thinks long and hard about this whole situation!

Jenny, ICU - RN August 19, 2009 2:22 PM
Baltimore MD

Capitalism is fine but I believe people shouldn't be capitalizing when it comes to health. That is not moral. Give everyone the proper health care they need. Doctors and nurses in the US get paid too much for the work they do. Although I am aiming to be a doctor, I won't mind the pay cut to ensure everyone gets the health care they need.

B August 16, 2009 9:31 PM

I am concerned about the new healthcare reform proposal that our President is trying to pass. First of all, nurses are paid from the room rate charges; that is a travesty in itself! Nurses are not paid for the services that they render. Doctors get paid for every service they provide. Nurses do not get paid for dressing changes, IV infusing, family dynamics, injections, cold calling, monitoring, assessing, re-evaluating, implementation of care and a host of other services we provide. The acuity ( level of care needed for a patient ), is not factored into how nurses are paid. Taking care of an alzheimers patient vs. an ICU patient, vs an expecting mom, all require various skill sets and different demands on nurses valuable time! How will the new healthcare reform effect the nursing industry? If there are cuts, who will be the recipient from the domino effect of those cuts?

When hospitals have to make budget cuts, nurses are the first group affected. If you think there is a nursing shortage now, you have not seen anything yet!

Alonzo, Nursing - RN, BA August 11, 2009 9:18 AM
Atlanta GA

PingBack from http://www.alldeaf.com/war-political-news/68105-angry-mob-racist-extremists-beats-black-man-town-hall-meeting-4.html#post1389696

August 10, 2009 5:11 PM

I think that the fear of wage cuts is real, however over exaggerated. We need to remember that this economy is still a capitalistic economy driven by supply and demand.  There is a demand for nurses, and a shortage of them.  This bodes well for salaries.  Nurses are skilled professionals with a huge union base (ANA) who have got their proverbial finger on Obama's pulse. Don't worry about DR's, if they can be reimbursed more regularly and not have to fight with the HMO's so often because more individuals are now insured independently, then they may come out better off as well through a greater rate of reimbursement.  I would not freak out about this just yet.  Nursing demand will grow out of control in the next decade.  PS here is a caption from Obama's speech:  http://www.enewspf.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8899:remarks-by-president-obama-on-health-care-reform&catid=88888983:latest-national-news&Itemid=88889930

Nate Poplin, RN July 24, 2009 2:05 AM
OR

I am currently a nursing student and like many nurses I am afriad that the nursing salary will be cut.  The nursing school that I go to cost between 5,000 to 7,000 each semester.  I am half way through and I fear that I will owe more money in student loans than I will even be able to make my first year out.  What are the estimated nurses salary?  I honestly am offended by the health care reform, it shows how much people do not value what we do.  Do I really want to take care of these individuals that get free health care while I work hard for way less than I was expecting, than I deserve?  Going to school to be a nurse is expensive... is the government going to help me pay off my loans?  This plan does not hurt the rich, it doesn't hit the poor, it just attacks the same people who always get attacked BLUE COLLAR Americans.  The ones who work hard to support this country, depending on their own sweat and not some government handout.  It is scarey to be me right now, because I really don't think I will be able to pay off my loans now!

Kayla July 18, 2009 12:34 PM
IL

Susan, I share the exact same view, just because I do not support this new healthcare reform does not mean that I do not care for my patients.  This will definately drive a wedge between the nurses and doctors. We need to stick together, we go to school and work hard to advance our education within our profession.  You are correct, their will be no nurses left. Why will individuals go to nursing school to make no money.  I am in the process of getting my bachelors. I'm debating whether to even continue.  I love nursing also, but I will not sacrifice the hard work and education i have endured to better my family financially  for a public health care system.

vanessa king`, PACU - RN, Bon Secours July 16, 2009 7:13 PM
virginia beach VA

Susan,

Recently, I attended a forum in Washington, DC, "Nursing Worforce Solutions for the 21st Century," sponosred by the Center to Champion Nursing in America and Health Affairs,  an initiaitve of the AARP, AARP Foundation  and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The thrust of this meeting was while some nurses have lots jobs  because of the economy, we must address the problems we have now to prepare for healthcare reform and the nurse shortage estimated to begin around 2018, when Baby Boomers will be retired.

Healthcare reform will increase the need for nurses, particualry in areas outside the hospital. To meet the needs of patients in the community and at home requires well-educated and skilled nurses. If nurses keep themselves educated and skilled, salaries won't be cut.

Look for my report on this meeting in www.advancefornurses.com

Kay Bensing, MA, RN, senior staff nurse consultant at ADVANCE.

kay bensing, , senior staff nurse consultnt ADVANCE for Nurses July 1, 2009 1:48 PM
King of Prussia, PA

I love this analogy of reform to road construction.  Right now, the town I live in is completely redesigning our downtown.  It's an absolute traffic nightmare, but I feel it will be worth it.  We will have a new brigde, parks and FINALLY a thriving downtown.%0d%0a%0d%0aChange is painful...for everyone involved.  I am optimistic that nurses will come out on top with this reform.  We just need to be an active and loud voice.%0d%0a%0d%0aThe road is going to get bumpy.  The process is going to be a nightmare.  Some people will leave nursing, while new ones see the value and join.%0d%0a%0d%0aAll that I know, is that I am tired of a system that makes the rich richer and the sick sicker.  %0d%0a%0d%0aSo, where's my hard hat and I can I get involved?

Lorettajo k, Emergency - RN June 25, 2009 9:36 AM
Springfield MA

I am afraid that the "health care reform" and cutting health care costs will result in cutting my salary.   There aren't enough Nurses as there is, if our salaries are cut there will be even fewer.  The doctors aren't going to allow THEIR pay to be cut!  So who's going to get the ax?  Nurses.  I hope people realize that if nurses salaries are cut, there won't be any nurses.  Hope SOMEBODY can bring you your pain meds. when that happens cause it won't be me.  I LOVE being a nurse.  Can't imagine what else I would do, but if I can't make enough money to support my family, I will be forced to leave a profession I truly love.

Susan, Rehab - RN, HealthSouth June 23, 2009 10:47 PM
Arlington TX

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