Hospitals should do more than raise money to alleviate the nursing shortages.
Last month, Downtown Philadelphia Marriot held the third Promise of Nursing for Pennsylvania gala. Temple University Hospital participated the event along with 27 other health care providers in the Keystone state (“TUHS addresses nursing shortage,” Page 3). The first two galas held in Pennsylvania brought in more than $1.2 million to address the nursing shortage.
This year’s gala, hosted by the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future, is certain to have raised a decent amount of money for nursing school grants and scholarships and faculty fellowships. However, the campaign and TUH should continue to focus on nursing education while working to alleviate the main problem facing the nursing shortage – working conditions.
Nurses are supposed to provide quality health care to their patients, but it is difficult to do so under pressure from bad working conditions.
Temple nurses say that the nursing shortage means more stress and little time spent on one patient without the extra set of hands. When nurse-to-patient ratio is out of balance, nurses must grin and bear the stress to help the patient and deal with the shortage.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, a national nursing shortage has been expected for some time. However, recent economic conditions have delayed this shortage.
AACN also states that nursing school enrollment is not growing fast enough to meet the demands for registered nurses. AACN reported a 3.6 percent enrollment increase in entry-level baccalaureate programs in nursing for 2009. A study published in the April 2010 issue of Health Services Research by University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Linda Aiken found that lower nurse-to-patient ratio on medical and surgical units were associated with significantly lower patient mortality rates.
After a 28-day strike between the hospital and Temple’s chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals union, TUH should have realized that it’s not just about the nurses – it’s also about the patients.
It might not be easy, but TUH needs to figure out how to address the concerns of nurses to ensure the best quality health care possibly afforded to patients.