I blew the dust off my nursing assistant license and joined a respected medical staffing agency. The time gap between grad school and employment in my field of health communication is a personal financial challenge. Every Monday, I step up to the plate and hope for a home run, or at least a chance to play the game.
Donning my scrubs again after an 11 month hiatus from LNA work was exciting. Caring is something that comes naturally to me on one level, and through years of clinical experience on another level. When I left my former employer, a rehabilitation and long term care provider, I promised my coworkers, friends, and some patients I would do good. By that, I meant that I would be an advocate on behalf of nursing facilities across the board because they are hard hit by budget cuts, shortages of staff and high turnover because they don’t pay well, particularly at the LNA level.
Nursing aide care is of particular importance in the scheme of health and rehabilitation. The inpatient nursing aide spends more time with a patient on a daily basis than any other health professional. New Hampshire is a state that mandates license of nurses assistants. Like other professionals, our knowledge and skills must remain current in a field that is always changing.
In the daily duties of nursing professionals, we must do the best we can with the equipment and supplies on hand. State and federal government have a lot to do with how well we can do our jobs. States rely heavily upon taxpayers to reimburse the cost of care on behalf of the state. The federal government has been a player for a long time; since 1935 and the enactment of Social Security. The financial reality is complicated for anyone who doesn’t live and breathe budgets of billions of dollars. In a nutshell, there is give and take by each government entity. Care does come down to the mighty dollar as well as a penny or a nickel lost change from someone’s pocket.
A recent study by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) indicates that nursing facilities across the country are underfunded by Medicaid by $5.6 billion. Medicaid underfunding hurts the most in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, reports the AHCA. That is not to say that other states are not hurt. The pain is felt all over. What does this mean to you with regard to your elderly loved ones? Perhaps it means nothing now, but it will one day. I leave you with something to think about as debate continues.