Retaining an adequate number of medical employees and assuring their professional growth is crucial for the U.S. healthcare system. According to HRSA (2014), the country should experience a demand for qualified nursing personnel due to the shift towards the preventative care model and management of one’s health condition. In addition, many states across the US might have a shortage of registered nurses (RNs) by 2025. It is evident that the role of RNs and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) is becoming increasingly important; thus, the US should focus on providing learning opportunities and assistance to those willing to work in the healthcare industry. This paper discusses essential legislative initiatives aimed at improving the nation’s health workforce state.
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Healthcare Workforce Policy
The primary healthcare workforce issue selected for this discussion is the shortage of nursing professionals that the country is projected to experience in the future. The problem is crucial as it would affect the operational activity of hospitals and employees. Firstly, it can be argued that additional spending from healthcare establishments would be required to provide prospective candidates with better work conditions.
This approach would ensure that particular hospitals can retain staff members, while others would be forced to close or minimize their operational activity. Secondly, burnout would become a more visible issue as current personnel would have to work more extended hours to ensure that an establishment functions and patients are receiving proper care. Thus, the shortage of medical professionals is a vital issue that Congress has to resolve.
Advanced practice nurses have a broad scope of responsibilities and work duties that directly affect patients’ health. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that such professionals can perform their work correctly. Although according to HRSA (2014), the number of medical staff that graduated from educational facilities has been increasing over the years, the amount will not cover the current demand. Thus, a policy that is directed at promoting a nursing profession and providing help to those who choose it should be established.
Therefore, the steps that the members of Congress should take have to be directed at counteracting the problem. Firstly, a policy that could raise awareness regarding the scope of practice and expertise that nurses have should be developed. The society often disregards the fact that advanced practice nurses go through extensive training and receive a proper education, which enables them to make appropriate medical decisions. In such a way the prestige of the profession and respect for it will be higher, which would encourage young people to become RNs.
The second step should focus on ensuring that nursing education is accessible to everyone. Thus, government initiatives directed at financial aid and scholarship provision should be created. In this manner, individuals will receive an opportunity to attend college regardless of their socioeconomic status. According to HRSA (2014), “historical experience demonstrates how sensitive enrollment in training programs and the resulting labor supply of nurses are to the job market and economic conditions” (p. 16). Therefore, ensuring that the influence of such factors is minimized will be beneficial for the potential workforce.
Overall, the changing healthcare environment in the US demands a change in the way the nursing profession is perceived and supported by both the society and the public. The necessary legislative change should focus on combating a possible medical personnel shortage that the US would experience by 2025. Therefore, the members of Congress should ensure that the public understands the importance of nurses and their contribution to the healthcare industry. Additionally, financial aid should be provided to people wishing to become RNs or LPNs.
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HRSA. (2014). The future of the nursing workforce: National- and state-level projections, 2012-2025. Web.