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Vidant Medical Center nurses, Karen Pursifull and Angela Hollis, of the James and Connie Maynard Children's Hospital simulate inserting a PICC line into an infant contained in a sterile isolette on October 27, 2015. (Joe Pellegrino/The Daily Reflector)

Joe Pellegrino/The Daily Reflect

Vidant Medical Center nurses, Karen Pursifull and Angela Hollis, of the James and Connie Maynard Children's Hospital simulate inserting a PICC line into an infant contained in a sterile isolette on October 27, 2015. (Joe Pellegrino/The Daily Reflector)

Editorial: Real reason for nurse shortage

15 Comments | Leave a Comment


Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican majority in the State Legislature can ignore the consequences of rejecting Medicaid expansion, but the consequences won’t ignore them.

One consequence for Vidant Health and Vidant Medical Center is $100 million dollars annually in unreimbursed care for tens of thousands of poor and uninsured people who use their hospitals for primary and chronic health care.

Linda Hofler, a VMC senior vice president and nurse executive, did not mention that at the news conference she held Wednesday to announce a shortage of 240 nurses, but she should have. Former Vidant Health CEO David Herman mentioned it in 2014 when he announced the closing of Vidant Pungo Hospital in Belhaven, and he was right to do so.

For the complete article, please pick up a copy of The Daily Reflector. Current home delivery and electronic edition subscribers may log in to access this article at no charge. To become a subscriber, please click here or contact Customer Service at (252) 329-9505.

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what about the 4 year degree requirement...

Ms. Hofler has implemented a mandatory 4 year degree for all nurses, either possessing one or working toward one. If I can pass my boards and provide excellent patient care through 20 plus years of nursing among various disciplines, i.e oncology, trauma(ER), cardio(heart), endoscopy et al. The question looms why must I incur the expense of obtaining a degree that only is important if I want to be a useless bureaucrat of the hospital. Most people become nurses to help folks not about the money....just saying.

Ultimate solution

I know certain people will froth at the mouth, but ultimately the solution to our health care issues is to scrap everything and go to a Bismarck system as used on the Continent. If you add up everything we pay: private insurance, employer-paid insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and the unrecovered costs which do get paid out of local taxes mostly, then divide by the US population the amount is half-again more than that paid by the citizens of European countries. And...they have better health statistics. But taxes will go up! they cry. Yes, but hidden taxes will go down. That automobile in your drive way has more money in it for health care than steel. I know a couple, one works for the state and one for WalMart. Your tax dollars pay for the health insurance of the former, and your spending at WalMart includes the cost of health insurance for the latter. The German and Japanese auto manufacturers do not pay for their employees health care, taxes from all of the citizens pay that bill. These issues will not go away unless we completely revise the system. Never gonna happen and 20 years form now, the same complaints will be posted on this board.

Nursing Shortage Is Good

As a Nurse, I'm thankful for the Nursing shortage. My predecessors in the 1970s were laid off in droves, resulting in a very high patient death rate. Why was that generation laid off? Well, doctors thought that technology would replace Nurses, and there were no studies correlating Nursing staff with patient death rates.

Today, numerous studies in RN and MD journals show that a good nursing staff lowers death rates.

Today, only 50% of Nursing majors entering an accredited program graduate. But those who graduate do are EXCELLENT. I'd rather be cared for by one good nurse than three mediocre nurses. We're paid more, of course. But then as now, we're worth every penny when you're laying on a gurney experiencing chest pains.

And ECU and PCC turn out some of the best nurses in the country. So what if Vidant doesn't value them? That's common...we have a large RN supply from these excellent schools, so Vidant can hire and fire at will. Those nurses will leave for other places that value them. Tidbit: That's also why Pitt County Schools Administrators treat local teachers like dirt--there's a College of Ed cranking out eager graduates who wish to stay in the area. It's called supply and demand.

I'd like to discuss this further, but there are meds to pass and patients to heal. Oh yeah, one more thing. It's not a Republican conspiracy. God help me....these editors give me heartburn.

What a load of crap

The Daily Reflector has become worse than the New York Times with their political dribble. Republicans are now responsible for the nursing shortage? Check with Ohio and the other states that expanded medicaid. It is wrecking their economy. Taxpayers will pay and pay and pay just as the Democrats intended when they passed this debacle.

Wrong

gopirates1--You must believe in the lies put out by Sen. Cruz. Reality: States that accepted Medicaid expansion have better economies than those that did not. Listen to Gov. Kasich extol the economic growth in Ohio, no small part due to his setting aside demagoguery for practicality and accepting the expansion.

I doubt

Treating poor people like human beings is recking an economy.

What really makes me sick . . .

. . . is that an American newspaper will publish politicized claptrap like this and present it as fact (the Editors writing it believing themselves noble/unbiased).

The shortages in nursing (and the one looming immediately ahead of us in doctoring) has been brewing for years and has virtually nothing to do with Medicaid expansion and everything to do with how nurses (and doctors) have been treated over the last twenty years by the increasingly-monopolized corporate medical complex . . . which, all the way up to the hallowed halls of the North Carolina Medical Board/Medical Society, is run by "suits" and lawyers . . . and has devalued (to the nth degree) the importance of experience, loyalty, responsibility and accountability for the people actually doing the work (and paying the bills-that-kill).

But hey, let's blame EVERYTHING on the Republicans when the Dems actually were in control as this behemoth was birthed and metastasized and took over/has decimated what was once a noble profession.

The very people medicine desperately needs are walking away in droves because "the (layer-upon-layer of overpaid) suits" cannot treat or manage professionals like pawns (to kick) on their chessboards of greed without consequences. When you treat people like "things" you get what you deserve.

It's not just about salary. Vidant has a bad reputation - which it has mercilessly cultivated and richly deserves. It cannot attract and retain nurses (or doctors for that matter) because since it went "corporate", it has treated very good/dedicated people like crap.

Speaking of, the fact that this newspaper is STILL holding up little-hospital-that-could-killer, David Herman, as some kind of paragon-of-virtue after the stunts he pulled speaks VOLUMES about how out-of-touch you are with what's going on on-the-ground.

Dr Johnson Makes Good Points

She did a better job of explaining the nuances of what I wrote earlier. I don't know the David Herman person she speaks about, so I can't comment on that. Evidently, Vidant treats its doctors like dirt too. I learned something today. Oh well, like I said, the best and brightest will land on their feet. They'll be replaced by new excellent interns and RNs from ECU (and PCC in the case of RNs). Once they get experience under their belts, they'll leave too. Again, supply and demand is at the heart of this.

Those suits

Republicans. Just about every one.

The problems with medicine . . .

. . . in this country will never be solved until we get past "Democrat" and "Republican". God knows Obamacare only made things exponentially worse. If healthcare is so "affordable" now - then WHY do we need to expand Medicaid? Smoke and mirrors.

The nursing shortage is one of supply not of demand

I think you are letting your political opinion get in the way of a cogent argument.

It's the republican solution

Let em go to the ER and stick the middle class for the bill.

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