Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Sixteen Percent and Rising

For those of you who haven't heard, there is a shortage of professional nurses. The number that gets tossed about regarding this, on a national level, is a keen 11%.

It varies regionally. For example, in the ever-sprawling two-dimensional metastatic growth of red-tile-roofed suburban flatland known as The Valley of the Sun, 16% of all positions for registered nurses go empty. That's a lot.

So what do you do about this crisis in health-care nursing staffing, if you are a Republican President? You make it worse, of course. Not all at once, mind you, as these things take time. You have to start an illegal and unpopular war first.

Then you begin to draft not just nurses, but all the medical people you want: doctors, nurses, operating room technicians, medical imaging technicians, and nurse aides, to name a few.

These people don't even have to pass a military physical. You just assume that if they're performing their duties adequately in the civilian world, they will do just fine in combat zones.

Of course, hospitals that presently must compete ferociously to recruit and retain nurses will have to jack up salaries and retention bonuses even more, as the field of qualified nurses shrinks under the pressure of the Republican war draft. This will push up the price of health-care in general, so your insurance premiums will rise, along with the price of anything made by people who happen to be lucky enough to have health-care coverage.

This is a Republican war in Iraq. When the draft comes, it will be a Republican draft, but all of us will suffer for it, especially those who are sick in hospitals already.

So, the next time you end up in the local emergency room waiting for hours on end, thank Preznit George for his hard efforts to make your experience even worse. And if you voted for him, please kick yourself repeatedly. We tried to warn you. We're still trying.

Nods to Thomas at Seeing The Forest for helping to get this out there.

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