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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

NURSE SHORTAGE GROWING DIRE WHILE BLACKOUT ON VISAS CONTINUES

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Certain voices in the nursing community are trying to make the argument that there is no nursing shortage and we need to keep protectionist policies in place. But there has been a great deal compelling evidence pointing in only one direction for many years - a nurse shortage that is already bad and will grow much worse in decades to come. Here's an article from CNN/Money that is certainly scary.

And 30 million more patients are about to gain access to health care under the reform bill on the verge of passage in Congress. If we don't have enough nurses to treat today's patients, how will we deal with an expansion of such a large magnitude.

It's time to face the music and admit that we need foreign nurses to at least help us fill the gaps while we make serious investments in the nurse education infrastructure so we can eventually have enough American-born nurses.

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  1. Jim's Avatar
    The continued rise of baby boomers, an additional 30 million now getting healthcare access and nurses who postponed retirement finally retiring soon (and sooner than what many thinks) would be a disaster.

    Primary physicians and bedside nurses are the ones who will be overworked here and stressed out.

    Because of this, ironic it may seem, once American students realize that future workloads of bedside nurses will get worse before it gets better there will be a big drop in nursing course enrollments.

    And the ones that are left will be begging (the nurses that actually are in the bedside and have patient contact) for foreign nurses to get in and help. This cycle happens everytime.

  2. Adi's Avatar
    I have a nursing degree (BSN) from American college. Cannot practice it due to visa restrictions. Education gone waste. Let see of they anything about GC for nurses.
    I have seen lot of nurses enter into clinical research due to better hours/pay/environment/stress etc. Future is very grim and was very visible in last 3-4yrs. Hospitals are hiring fresh graduates to work in ICU due to lack of experienced nurses. These fresh graduates have no knowledge of working in ICU and its hands on learning. In future with less nurses, more patients things are going to get worse before they get better. Attrition rate in nursing profession is very high for American educated students. They tend to find better oppurtunities than handling 25 patients per nurse ratio. Recently California standard was 3-6patients per nurse on regular floor and hospitals were forced to keep 20 to 1 ratio due to lack of nurses. They were hiring LPNs to do work of RNs. Future will be where they might have to turn down the patients. Situation is pathetic in nursing homes and rural areas. During my rotation, situation was very dire in nursing home around the city. Lack of care was very severe due to nursing shortages. Rural areas are worse to be affected. They do not get to see nurses for weeks at a time when doctor wants them to see a nurse atleast twice a week. Situation is very dire and I was quite shocked that govt gave a little hoot about all these people. For those who feel pity at third world countries need to look in their front and back yard. Its very starkly visible due to lack of care from politicians.
  3. Sagar's Avatar
    But, will they be able to find enough nurses if they wanted.? I know, four of my friends here in UK waited for more than 3 years after passing NCLEX, IELTS etc. and later migrated to Australia. Not only them, a lot of NCLEX passers went and settled in Australia/newzealand due to 'long wait' for US dream. Life is too short; can't wait for a GC for ever...(when ****rys like Australia, newzealand, middle east attracts nurses with good pay and package...)Surely, US will struggle to find NCLEX passers to fill their urgent nurses requirement...Even, there is decline in number of people who attend for NCLEX exam due to this waiting game...by the way, who is going to listen...???
  4. Jim's Avatar
    "But, will they be able to find enough nurses if they wanted?"

    Definitely not domestically and this is even of there were no bottlenecks or waiting lines to enter a nursing course w/c I think will drop in a few years as well when prospective nursing students are being discouraged to take up nursing by antis pretending to be nurses and misleading them to think that there is no nursing shortage so that unions can get more leverage or bargaining power.

    And you are right, many have given up and canceled their petitions and there is a big drop in new applications to the NCLEX to get licensed in the US.

    If this thing goes on, the US HC system will collapse.
    Something has to give.

  5. Adi's Avatar
    "I think will drop in a few years as well when prospective nursing students are being discouraged to take up nursing by antis pretending to be nurses and misleading them to think that there is no nursing shortage"

    You don't need antis to do anything. In my class, within first year there was a drop of 30% who thought nursing was easy course. These 100 were chosen out of nearly 1500 applications. Out of 70 left only 60 graduated. Out of those 60 only 20-30% are practicing nursing. Rest of them either went to become Nurse practitioners, CRNA, CNL etc or they are working PRN or they just quit. So out of 100 admitted students only 20-30 are practicing nursing. Lot of them got married, quit working and became stay at home mom. Lot of them later on found out that hospitals work you to death on floors, do not increase wages, too much stress of working with patients etc. Its anybody's guess how many of those 20-30 working will actually end up working all their lives. Shortage is very severe. It is very starkly evident in rural areas of US. These patients just wait and wait for nurses to show up. Situation is much worse in nursing homes where patients get infected due to improper care, which results from lack of nurses. You feel like you are in a third world country when you visit these places.
  6. George Chell's Avatar
    Serious budget cuts at the university level and blackout on foreign nurses will result in more deaths and disability. Things will come to a head when H1-N1 really becomes a pandemic!
  7. Jim's Avatar
    "So out of 100 admitted students only 20-30 are practicing nursing. Lot of them got married, quit working and became stay at home mom. Lot of them later on found out that hospitals work you to death on floors, do not increase wages, too much stress of working with patients etc. Its anybody's guess how many of those 20-30 working will actually end up working all their lives."

    Glad you brought that up. Always hesitant to bring this particular issue. Anytime, someone even hint of bringing up this issue they cry foul and accuse someone sexist or something to that effect. Same with issue of very old nurses needing to retire or will be retiring soon - they accuse you of ageism.

    Fact is, as long as nursing is still female dominated those kind of issues are a reality no matter how they downplay it. Majority really do quit once they get married. I'm not saying it's bad - it's just the reality and one of the reasons that there will always be a nursing shortage in the US no matter what. This is also the reason why many are so picky on schedules (no night and graveyard shifts) and will not and cannot re-locate to other regions of the US.

    Greg, is right. US should face the music.
  8. George Chell's Avatar
    "Greg, is right. US should face the music."

    The nursing union has blood of American kids on its hands. I hope they sleep well at night. As for me, I will do the usual thing...go abroad for check-up, colonoscopy, and for treatment, unless it is an emergency.
  9. John's Avatar
    US should face the music, yes we will feel the music soon and we will continue to hear the music for years to come. They were talking about Schedule-A relief long time ago, but did not go anywhere. The only way to go is CIR, I dont see that happening as well or may be President can give an executive order which is less than 0.

  10. Rob Gard's Avatar
    Here is another link to an article about an AFL-CIO affiliated Nurses association/union who oppose the Senate Health Care Reform proposals (as they now stand):

    http://rawstory.com/2009/12/nurses-health-bill-crisis-worse/

    and another article that notes that there may be an agreement to remove the 5 year waiting period for Medicaid for LPRs:

    http://news.firedoglake.com/2009/12/23/1-down-34-to-go-legal-immigrant-waiting-period-stripped/
  11. George Chell's Avatar
    I think the nurses union is neither for training moreUS nurses nor for importing more. They wont be happy unless more US citizens die!
  12. George Chell's Avatar
    It is now very clear to me that no one is interested in addressing the shortage of nurses and other medical personnel by either training more nurses at home or bringing them from abroad. Draconian university budget cuts, including nursing school budgets (upto 30% in some cases) make it clear that we will not have the nurses in the future. It is very clear that Obama gave lip service to training more US nurses last year. Dont believe it is addressed in the Health Reform Bill. Some in the anti groups want population control...these include Tanton, former governor Lamm of Colorado..all these folks have asked the seniors to drop dead for a long time..and I believe they really mean it..including Kirkorian, Vaughan and Stein. Raising the salary to attract more medical personnel is not an option and would defeat the cost control component of the health care legislation.

    Meanwhile, Singapore and other countries in Asia will emerge much quickly out of the recession and would see a boom next year..leading to more brain drain from America. I already identified two US nurses working in Singapore. And there will be more to come even as they want to stop foreigners working in America...like all selfish people they want a one way street. I am a bearer of glad tidings of great joy to the world, to places such as Singapore and Australia (if they are not stupid enough to listen to racists and xenophobes such as the former immigration minister Kevin Andrews and instead follow the Singapore foreign talent policies)..Joy to the world, but, not much joy to the US.
  13. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Oh, and George, mark my words that the same people who will scream the loudest about importing foreign trained nurses (or other professionals), are the same ones who will scream even louder if you suggest raising taxes to fund educating workers here at home.
  14. AJ's Avatar
    "Raising the salary to attract more medical personnel is not an option and would defeat the cost control component of the health care legislation."

    I may be mistaken but there is no cost control component in the health care legislation. As with Medicare prescription coverage, the expanded government coverage in the current legislation will allow for healthcare salaries to rise much faster than the CPI. But the government should be able to cover this increase by printing more money.

  15. George Chell's Avatar
    "I may be mistaken but there is no cost control component in the health care legislation. As with Medicare prescription coverage, the expanded government coverage in the current legislation will allow for healthcare salaries to rise much faster than the CPI. But the government should be able to cover this increase by printing more money."

    Useful to print money under today's circumstances..but not under inflation!

  16. George Chell's Avatar
    "Oh, and George, mark my words that the same people who will scream the loudest about importing foreign trained nurses (or other professionals), are the same ones who will scream even louder if you suggest raising taxes to fund educating workers here at home."

    AARP should get involved if they know what is good for them. I am pretty convinced after reading statements from Tanton and Lamm that they want old folks dead and as soon as possible...they are actually smiling at the number of H1N1 deaths, believe me!

  17. USC's Avatar
    With Universal Health Care Reform now a reality, it is time to finish Senator Kennedy's other legislative priority, enact CIR in the next three months!
  18. Jim's Avatar
    "With Universal Health Care Reform now a reality, it is time to finish Senator Kennedy's other legislative priority, enact CIR in the next three months! "

    Agree!!

    I fact, I think they should strongly consider attaching something (not sure if this still can be done in the Conference Committee) to bring foreign nurses and loosen up immigration for foreign doctors willing to train here to become a primary physician or a general internist since HC reform will actually make the shortage on those two more prominent.

  19. Jim's Avatar
    Here's more news about the inability to produce more domestic nurses:

    http://www.guampdn.com/article/20091226/NEWS01/912260303/1002/rss


  20. Jim's Avatar
    This is a very good ff-up story from the CNN article:
    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2529341/nursing_shortage_crisis_looms.html

    Also confirms what Adi was saying.

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