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Hospital cuts create uncertain future for nurses

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Recent staffing cuts at hospitals in Indiana and around the country are forcing nurses and other health workers to shift the focus of their job searches and leaving them wondering about their futures.

IU Health, St. Vincent Health and Franciscan Alliance have cut nearly 2,000 jobs this year, about a fourth of them in nursing. Nationally, the health-care industry has lost more than 41,000 jobs this year.

The cuts are the product of declining admissions and falling revenue, and they're making it more difficult for nurses to find hospital jobs and for nursing students to get their first break, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The new climate is a seismic change for many who got into nursing because for generations it had been a recession-proof career.

"I knew going into school I was choosing a safe major, because all you heard is how badly hospitals needed nurses," said Lily Bush of Irvine, Calif., a junior at Indiana University's School of Nursing.

The changes are forcing nurses to look outside hospitals for jobs, often at lower wages. Outpatient and walk-in clinics, rehabilitation centers and patients' homes are becoming popular employers.

"Times are changing, and the venues are changing," said Kim Harper, executive director of the Indiana Center for Nursing.

Blayne Miley, director of policy and advocacy at the Indiana State Nursing Association, said the shift is creating new opportunities.

"The changing landscape is basically creating the opportunity for a business model that wasn't really there before," he said.

Marion Broome, dean of the IU School of Nursing, said the industry has seen similar shifts in the past.

"We have been through this before in the nursing profession," she said. "Every time there's a change in the way health care is financed, there's usually some repositioning of health systems, and a portion of that always affects nurses."

Broome said the current changes mean many nursing graduates spend an average of six months searching for a job. In the past, they often had multiple offers before graduation.

Nursing advocates say expect demand for nurses to rebound as the current generation retires and demand for care rises as Americans age and the Affordable Care Act brings millions more people into the health-care system.

"The future looks very bright," said Peter McMenamin, an economist and senior policy fellow at the American Nursing Association in Washington, D.C., "but the present looks very uncertain."

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  • Healthcare Contraction
    This is a fairly uniform issue throughout the healthcare system. A recent report on pharmacists indicate that there is a high rate of unemployment currently, and that by 2015 20% of all pharmacists will likely be unemployable. The unsustainable "growth" model of healthcare has spurred over education/certification of many healthcare ancillary professions. This is a serious issue considering most of these people leave their education with significant personal debt. It is likely to be a powerful downward pressure on wages. Both nursing and pharmacy are dominated by large corporations and health systems who are looking for incremental savings from reducing salaries in the face of reduced reimbursement. The notion, as put forth by the above quoted nursing lobbyist is the typical PR quote in the face of contrary facts- we are poised for growth.......

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  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

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