Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wasting Health Care

In the January 14th CNN article, For Nursing Jobs, New Grads Need Not Apply, it is reported that "About 43% of newly licensed RNs still do not have jobs within 18 months after graduation, according to a survey conducted by the American Society of Registered Nurses."

Why is there a problem?  The usual culprits: Too many graduates for too few jobs, employers unwilling to devote any time or effort into job training, and older nurses putting off retirement because of the troubled economy.  Like so many other people & professions, we have filled these hard-working, well-intentioned people with false hope, saddled them with debt, and released them into a job market that actively discriminates against them. A human resources professional is quoted, "We're new grad friendly but with the challenges we face in the hospital world, we often need seasoned nurses. We hire thousands of nurses across the whole system, yet a very small percentage are new grads."  

In a related article, a recent grad & now-licensed nurse states: "Every time I tell people that I am a nurse and looking for a job, they respond by telling me that it is easy for nurses to find jobs because of the nursing shortage. The truth is, new nurses are graduating and struggling to find jobs. I want people to know how bad the situation is for us."

The amazing (outrageous) thing about all this is that so many people don't have affordable access to health care. So, we have a situation where there are licensed nurses who can't find work, and people with health problems who can't access health care.  Are there words to describe such lunacy?

If we had a WPA, these nurses could get at least a basic amount of work and pay. Additionally, they would gain experience while helping lower-income people who have health issues. Why in the world are we wasting health care?

(Image above is a WPA poster, provided courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)  

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