Monday, May 18, 2009

TheTruth About Healthcare Reform

What do we truly need to know about healthcare reform? Is it the high cost of medicines and getting care? What if over half of the medical professionals that currently care for us were not there anymore? Where would we go? In a given year, there are 58 million Americans age 18 or older who have a dignosable mental disorder. That is roughly 26%. This does not include those under the age of 18, which may raise the percentage to about 45%. Psychiatric nurses are a disappearing breed according to a recent article in the Journal Of Psychosocial Nursing. More than half of the current psychiatric nurse will leave their jobs by 2018. Only 4.2% of the psyhciatric nursing force is younger than 30. There are approximatley 90,765 psychiatric nurses in the country to date with a total number of RN's estimated at 2,909,357. When looking at job satisfaction among nurses, the Psych nurse retained their same jobs and employers at a rate of 80% for those eomployed in a hospital setting. These are the RN's who care for the sickest of our mentally ill. A ratio of psychiatric nurse per 100,000 population showed Texas (12.7) and Nevada (17.1) having the lowest number of psychiatric nurses. Accordning to NAMI's Grade the States report, Texas received a D. There may be a correlation between the lack of available professionals and the poor scores. We know there is a current lack of child psychiatrists and a limited number of child and adolescent beds in San Antonio. We can try to attract professionasl to the city, but why would they want to try to work within a ssytem that is broken? Perhaps the Nursing programs across the state should look at the psoitives to offering a module preparing nurse for a career in psychiatry instead of imbedding psychitric models in the med/surg blocks. And those of us who work in psychiatry need to offer our stories to those who might seek this out as their area of specialty. Clinical coaching programs could offer a great avenue for aging RN's to pass on their experience and strength to new nurses and pass their lamp of hope to a new generation of nurse who choose to care for the mentally ill in our society. Nurses have been the underpinnings of the healthcare in our country. If they are in short supply, we will all suffer. Send this on to a nurse who may be looking for a new niche to fill.

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