Doctor/Nurse Shortages Come With A Twist

A new study said the projected shortage of primary care physicians may be overstated, and new nurses are having trouble finding work.

Medpage Today: Doc Shortage May Be Smaller Than Projected
The projected shortage in the nation's primary care physician work force may be overstated, and any that does develop can be eliminated with wider adoption of EHRs and practice restructuring, a study suggests. By working in practices of two or three doctors while shifting as little as 20 percent of patients to a nonphysician provider and using an EHR, "most if not all of the projected primary care physician shortage could be eliminated," according to an analysis of several scenarios published in the January issue of Health Affairs (Pittman, 1/11).

Modern Healthcare: Projected Doc Shortage Is Real, Experts Say
Although they found areas of partial agreement, two experts who believe the threat of an imminent physician shortage is real disagreed with the basic premise of a recent Health Affairs report that concluded that the projected shortage was "greatly overestimated." ... "Our position is that you do have to do that stuff, but you also have to train a couple more thousand doctors a year—it's not an either-or proposition,” said Dr. Atul Grover, chief public policy officer for the Association of American Medical Colleges (Robeznieks, 1/11).

CNN Money: For Nursing Jobs, New Grads Need Not Apply
Registered nurses fresh out of school are coming across thousands of job postings with an impossible requirement: "no new grads." It's a problem well documented by the nursing industry. About 43% of newly licensed RNs still do not have jobs within 18 months after graduation, according to a survey conducted by the American Society of Registered Nurses. ... The recession is to blame, says Peter Buerhaus, a registered nurse and economist who teaches at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (Kurtz, 1/14).

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