PERSONAL IMPACT OF NURSING SHORTAGE
ANCHOR LEAD: WHAT MIGHT A NURSING SHORTAGE MEAN FOR YOU? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS.
Scary tales of too few nurses to go around may not seem like much to worry about, but Karen Haller, vice president of nursing and patient services at Johns Hopkins, puts a probable shortage into perspective this way.
HALLER: We do not run hospitals with less nurses than we need. We close beds if we have to so we take less patients in so at Hopkins its not a safety issue for the patients its an access to care issue because we literally may have a bed closed because we don't have a nurse to staff it. And when we close beds that means the next person cannot get in here. The demand for care is high so its an access issue. :24
Besides hospitals, a shortage of nurses would compromise care in other health care facilities such as nursing homes as well as private nursing services. So even though we've been hearing about health care rationing from the standpoint of funding, including cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, it may turn out that the nursing shortage is the rate limiting step. .
At the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, I'm Elizabeth Tracey reporting.