The Covid-19 pandemic laid bare what is wrong with the US hospital system. While there is much to complain about including massive consolidation, tiered plans courtesy of insurance carriers, and the purchasing of private practices designed to control the regions they proliferate in, there is one overwhelming problem; nurses.
During the pandemic, I had heard firsthand stories of nurses being overworked due to staffing shortages, doctors sending nurses to rooms they were afraid to enter and the crisis started years before the pandemic as hospitals reduced staffing levels below what was appropriate.
I had a first-hand experience when my daughter visited the St. Barnabus ER which was redesigned and updated, yet hardly a nurse was to be found. The hospital ER was large and modern; when my daughter wanted to speak with the nurse on staff, they were unavailable. She basically suffered in the room until they came in to finally look at her and then wanted her to do a CT scan there but the way she was feeling, there was no way she could tolerate the imaging solution they wanted her to drink. They would have charged a huge premium over what the other facility she had it done at the following week as well.
For what we pay, we should expect adequate staffing and good service. Hospital executives apparently think that lower staffing is good for the bottom line but truthfully, bad service is remembered and horrible for your corporate image or the safety of those who are admitted to the hospital.
Check out this recent NY Times article. The nurses tell all.
We Know the Real Cause of the Crisis in Our Hospitals. It’s Greed.
Nurses would like to set the record straight on the hospital staffing crisis.
Video By Lucy King and Jonah M. Kessel
Ms. King is a producer with Opinion Video. Mr. Kessel is the deputy director of Opinion Video.
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We’re entering our third year of Covid, and America’s nurses — who we celebrated as heroes during the early days of lockdown — are now leaving the bedside. The pandemic arrived with many people having great hope for reform on many fronts, including the nursing industry, but much of that optimism seems to have faded.
In the Opinion Video above, nurses set the record straight about the root cause of the nursing crisis: chronic understaffing by profit-driven hospitals that predates the pandemic. “I could no longer work in critical care under the conditions I was being forced to work under with poor staffing,” explains one nurse, “and that’s when I left.” They also tear down the common misconception that there’s a shortage of nurses. In fact, there are more qualified nurses today in America than ever before.