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Ripped from the Headlines: Able, Resourceful RNs

Time for yet another blog post from our continuing series of nursing industry news pieces we’ve “ripped from headlines”, a la Law & Order. It’s a great compendium of nursing topics making the rounds on Google News. We invite you to read our previous installments in this series here.

In the international healthcare recruitment system, competent nursing is represented by two separate yet equally important groups. The quality foreign nurses we place, and the American healthcare providers who turn to Conexus Medstaff for their services.

These are their stories. 

(Duh-DUH!).

Monster: RNs among most popular jobs posted

A legacy job post board in the US, Monster has been overrun with roles that are hard to fill among American applicants. Including nurses, as reported by Fox Business:

Monster compiled a list of the top 10 jobs that have been posted on its website, and while several of the positions are technology-related, some roles are completely out of that field…

Many employers are also looking for registered nurses, who make an average of $70,000 a year. The position has a 15 percent job growth over the course of a decade.

Here’s a bit more insight on that 15 percent job growth. We’ve reported before about the growing need for qualified nurses throughout the US. This is due to in part to two critical factors.

  1. Aging workforce. Healthcare practitioners are increasingly approaching retirement age.
  2. Next generation shortfall. Statistics show modern students aren’t following the educational path to becoming a nurse.

And as we’ve revealed in our free Guide to Delivering Healthcare Talent to the USA, healthcare practitioners are increasingly cosmopolitan in America. Healthcare practitioners from abroad went up 40% in the decade before 2015. 15% of all registered nurses are international and growing. The void in nursing talent is real, but many qualified candidates to ease the strain on overstretched hospitals, hospices, and HMOs.

Clients and candidates alike should take heart.

Filipino Nurses and the U.S.

You’ll recall our recent insights into the new EB-3 visa update and its favorability for nurses from the Philippines. As a follow-up, a study of nurses from the South Pacific archipelago reveals a rather remarkable history.

Here’s a truly incredible read from Anne Brice (and podcast listen to Cal-Berkeley professor Catherine Ceniza Choy) on the legacy of nurses from the Philippines working in the US. It’s one that started thanks to nothing more than Choy’s childhood in New York City, and the simple question Why? Read below from the Berkeley News.

“(Choy’s) mom was an immigrant from the Philippines. And when they’d go to Filipino events, it was common to see a lot of nurses. 'I think when I was growing up, it was just part of the familiar landscape of home,' Choy says, 'and what it was like to be in New York City. I didn’t really question it as a child. It just seemed natural or normal to me.” Years later, as a graduate student at UCLA, Choy began to wonder: Why were there so many Filipino nurses in the U.S..?

As it turns out, Cold War federal government programs that intended to curb the growth of Communism internationally played a central role. The result? Communities of Filipino nurses and their families in the US.

“The Exchange Visitor Program was created in 1948 to bring people from other countries to the U.S.., where they would work and study for two years, and learn about American culture…Filipino exchange nurses and other health care workers soon began to dominate the program. But it still didn’t answer: why the Philippines?

Please read or listen to it. You’ll be glad we didn’t give away the answer, as it’s worth the investment of time. 

More with less? Here’s how nurses and healthcare providers really cope.

Nurses of all competencies have to (and do) make do with less, be it supplies or critical equipment. Hospice nurse Theresa Brown spared no words in a well-written opinion piece for CNN.com last week talking about the culture of maximizing resources. We’ll offer a slight correction afterward.

From cnn.com:

“When I worked at a teaching hospital in the UPMC system in Pittsburgh, my hospital floor usually had two or three of these devices, and though we nurses begged for more, we were always told the money wasn't "there" in the budget, despite our hospital system's obvious wealth (operating revenues of $14 billion in the first nine months of 2018).

This is the paradox of modern health care: The clinical space where patient care occurs operates on a model of scarcity, while the back office of CEOs, pharmaceutical companies, and large hospital systems function in a world of plenty. I have been, at times, desperate for a pulse-ox. Watching someone fight for air evokes a primal fear in anyone, and it's important as a caregiver to know that (a) patient's oxygen level. Having to hurry around the floor asking where a pulse-ox device is compounding the stress and delays care when the patient struggling to breathe cannot wait."

There's a lot to unpack here. No doubt, such horrors as the ones described by Brown here may occur on a given day. But a recent Kaufman Hall report found that supply expense per discharge grew 7% year-on-year in April. So while it's true that doing without may be a required job skill for nurses, how much they might do without from system to system varies.

Secondly, Brown uses the word “revenue” instead of “profit”, which might’ve helped her drive home the “have and have-not” notion. In this instance, it’s misleading: hospitals - like any industry - often have to find the most affordable ways to deliver top-notch healthcare.

Profitability is not a given for hospitals, according to Kaufman Hall Managing Director Jim Blake. As told to Healthcare Finance’s Jeff Legasse:

"'Overall, the first half of the year (2018) was a very bad half...A lot of bad performance overall in various regions, by profitability, by volumes.

'Things turned around during the middle of the year -- June, July, and August were profitable months -- but nothing that would set the world afire. The industry as a whole was eking it out during that time.'"

Cost-cutting measures occur in all sectors, and healthcare is no different. Finding the fine line (urban vs rural, rich vs poor, resourceful vs resourceless) is relative in addressing Brown’s points. It’s not to minimize them by any stretch; rather, it’s operative to wear the shoes of both management and practitioners when analyzing this complex issue.

Above all, Conexus Medstaff encourages nurses to be resourceful, and healthcare firms to consider the best options available.

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