Council Calls for a New Partnership Between Nursing and Medicine to Address Nurse and Doctor Shortages

Jun 13, 2007, 01:00 ET from AMN Healthcare

    PHILADELPHIA, June 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Council on Physician and
 Nurse Supply concluded its two-day meeting in Washington, D.C. on May 16
 calling for a new partnership between nursing and medicine to address the
 growing shortages of physicians and nurses and the rising complexity of
     The Council noted that shortages of physicians exist within most
 specialties and that nursing shortages are widespread. At current levels of
 training, these shortages can be expected to deepen and there will be too
 few physicians and nurses to meet future demand. Indeed, the consequences
 of shortages are being felt already, as patients experience more limited
 access to care and as the nation suffers under the weight of inadequate
 reserve capacity for emergency preparedness, insufficient staff for
 military needs and too few doctors and nurses to properly staff health care
 facilities that are now being created or expanded in many communities.
     The Council observed that physicians and nurses are interdependent and
 that shortages in either discipline exacerbate shortages in the other. It
 concluded that action to alleviate the existing and projected shortages
 must be a high priority for government and educational organizations.
 However, simply training more practitioners will not be sufficient.
 Instead, the Council called for a new partnership between nursing and
 medicine to train a new generation of professionals who will be capable of
 working synergistically across the full range of services, from prevention
 and health promotion to disease management. These practitioners must be
 skilled in treating patients who have a complex array of needs in an era
 when chronic illness and survivorship issues will be prevalent.
     To achieve the desired goals, medical educators face the dual
 challenges of building medical school capacity and expanding the number of
 residency positions, while also restructuring medical education throughout
 its continuum. Nurse educators face similar challenges in increasing the
 production of new RNs, particularly those with bachelors of nursing
 degrees, while also increasing the numbers of nurses who obtain graduate
 degrees that prepare them for advanced practice and faculty roles.
     Meeting these goals will require increased investment in undergraduate
 medical education and in both baccalaureate (BSN) and graduate education
 for nurses. It also will require that the current caps on Medicare support
 for graduate medical education (GME) be lifted and that new and equitable
 means be developed to support GME. Specific investment will be necessary to
 increase the numbers of qualified faculty and to expand the number of
 clinical training sites for both medicine and nursing.
     While many important details flow from this basic structure, and a
 great deal of thought and planning will be necessary, the Council expressed
 a strong sense of urgency to expand educational capacity because the lead
 times are long and the failure to act now will jeopardize the ability to
 achieve the desired goals in the future.
     About The Council on Physician and Nurse Supply
     The Council on Physician and Nurse Supply is an independent,
     multi-disciplinary group dedicated to studying trends in the demand for
 physicians and nurses and to proposing ways to better align training
 capacity with the nation's needs. It is based in the University of
 Pennsylvania's Leonard Davis Institute of Health Care Economics. Funding
 for the Council is provided by AMN Healthcare, a national health care
 staffing company.
     Council members include:
      Linda Aiken, PhD, RN (Co-Chair); Professor of Nursing and Director,
       Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, University of
      Richard "Buz" Cooper, MD (Co-Chair); Professor of Medicine and Senior
       Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute, University of Pennsylvania
      James Bentley; Senior Vice President, American Hospital Association
      David Blumenthal, MD, MPP; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
       and Director, Institute of Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital
      Peter Budetti, MD, JD; Professor and Chair, Department of Health
       Administration and Policy, College of Public Health, University of
      Joyce Clifford, PhD, RN; President and CEO, Institute for Nursing
       Healthcare Leadership
      Robert Graham, MD; Professor of Family Medicine, University of Cincinnati
      John Iglehart, MD; Founding Editor, Health Affairs
      William Jessee, MD; President and CEO, Medical Group Management
      Michael Johns, MD; Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Emory
      Kathleen Long, RN, PhD; Dean, College of Nursing, University of Florida,
      Mark Kelley, MD; CEO, Henry Ford Medical Group
      Barbara Ross-Lee, DO; Vice President for Health Sciences and Medical
       Affairs; New York Institute of Technology
      Marla Salmon, ScD, RN; Dean, Emory University School of Nursing
      George Sheldon, MD; Professor of Surgery, University of North Carolina,
       Chapel Hill
      Ralph Snyderman, MD; Chancellor Emeritus, Duke University
      Michael Whitcomb, MD; Editor-in-Chief, Academic Medicine
     Supporting Members are
      Marcia Faller, RN, BSN, Executive Vice President and Clinical Nursing
      AMN Healthcare
       James Merritt, President, The MHA Group

SOURCE AMN Healthcare