I chose to elaborate on the shortage of physicians in a discussion post. I was presented with the following question by a colleague in regard to my discussion and need assistance to answer their feedback
You shared an interesting response to the discussion question, I have a few follow up questions. The issue you identified is the shortage of physicians, since the shortage of physicians is different and distinct from the shortage of nurses, can you share further details to show how nursing is impacted by the shortage of physicians? Should both issues be addressed differently, why?
Below is my initial discussion post that is need the above bold questions addressed.
Review of Current Healthcare Issues
The issue of physician shortage has been one of the major healthcare issues affecting the nursing profession and the general health of the population. Over the years, initiatives and policies have been implemented to improve access to healthcare services. One major milestone was the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 in the United States when President Obama was in power. The ACA is one of the healthcare reform laws that focuses on increasing access to healthcare through increasing insurance coverage using payment reform strategies (Glied, Collins, & Lin, 2020). The increased access to healthcare services from the implementation of the ACA was expected to create significant progress in the nursing and medical workforce. However, healthcare access has faced a major obstacle due to physician shortages. This discussion outline how physician shortage is a national healthcare issue, how it impacts my work setting, and how my organization has responded to healthcare access.
National Healthcare Issue
Physician shortages have been a major issue in the United States. The Association of American Medical Colleges has foreseen that there will be approximately 104,900 doctors in shortage by the year 2030, which will negatively affect patient care across the United States and even limit healthcare access (Mann, 2017). In 2012, physician shortages reached their peak as it reflected the highest number of nurse shortages ever reported in the United States. Reports estimate that nearly 1.2 million new registered nurses (RNs) will be needed by the year 2030 in the United States due to the currently growing nurse shortages (Daniel & Smith, 2018). Factors such as the increased demand for care due to healthcare reforms, the growing population of older adults with age-related conditions, and failing to replace the physicians who retire or leave the profession due to burnout have contributed to the current nurse shortages (Behring, 2021).
Impacts on Work Setting
The impact of physician shortages in my work setting is that there is an insufficient number of physicians available in the workplace to effectively manage the growing number of patients. There has been an increasing number of patients seeking either primary, secondary, tertiary, or even preventive care in the healthcare facility where I work. This can be attributed to the healthcare reforms that have occurred in the healthcare facility. The available nursing physicians have to handle more workload which promotes burnout and reduces the quality of care. The result of physician shortages in this workplace setting is that it creates the need to hire more practitioners or risks suffering further physician turnover.
Solutions to Respond to Physician Shortages
The healthcare facility where I work supports proactive approaches to addressing physician shortages. A multipronged solution to addressing physician shortages as a healthcare issue is through improved use of technology, delivery innovations, and the use of other health professionals (Ahmed & Carmody, 2020). For this to happen, the healthcare facility has embraced a team-based approach and working with multi-disciplinary teams to deliver quality care to the patients. The other solution has been to incorporate the changing innovation and technology. The healthcare facility is using telemedicine, electronic medical records (EMRs), email, video conferencing, and other computer technologies to respond to minor conditions, reducing the necessity of the patients visiting the healthcare facility. For example, rather than having to visit the facility to get diagnostic results for less serious conditions, patients are notified through video conferencing. This reduces the number of patients who have to be handled at the facility on a daily basis and thus reduces instances of physician shortages when some patients are handled remotely using technology. The facility has also implemented training and education programs where the facility offers reimbursement for nurse practitioners who work collaboratively with the available physicians during shortages to deliver patient care. Proper training and development programs allow graduate nurse practitioners to assume broader patient care responsibilities (Ahmed & Carmody, 2020).
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