Monday, September 14, 2009

GUEST POST: "Healthcare Policy and Its Impact on Nurses"

By Adrienne Carlson

We can talk and argue about it till we’re blue in the face, but that’s not going to really affect the healthcare reforms that have been proposed by President Obama. From the look of things, he seems bent on going ahead with his plan because he seeks to bring about positive change, one that will ensure that all Americans have access to affordable healthcare. The President plans to eliminate wastage from Medicare, Medicaid and other government sponsored programs and also reduce tax deductions for the super rich in order to produce money to fund the proposed reforms.

So if the common man is set to gain through Obama’s proposal, what does it hold for nurses? For starters, the proposal calls for more primary care physicians in order to provide basic healthcare in emergency rooms and in rural settings. Nurse practitioners are already taking care of the healthcare needs of patients in rural areas by doing the jobs that physicians are supposed to do. But they are bound by licensing and state rules, some of which allow them unfettered freedom to not only treat patients but also prescribe medicine, and others that require them to practice medicine only under the supervision of a licensed physician.

With the proposed reforms, President Obama hopes to make the jobs of nurses easier and more fulfilling by:

  • Encouraging nurse practitioners to aid and assist primary physicians in both outpatient and rural settings.

  • Reducing the amount of paperwork they do, a task that takes up a large chunk of their time, by modernizing health records

  • Investing in preventive medicine that helps keep patients out of hospital

  • Making their lives much easier and by this, helping to draw more young people to the nursing profession and reducing the shortage that this industry faces.

  • Encouraging them to use their education and skills to improve patients’ experience during their stay in the hospital.

  • There are fears among those in the healthcare community that with people shifting (or being forced to move en masse) to the government sponsored healthcare plan, doctors and other healthcare professionals are going to have to endure pay cuts. While this is still conjecture at this point, it remains to be seen how the reform will play out.

    This guest post was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of nurse practitioner schools. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: