Finally, someone is getting serious about countermeasures to shore up the weakened system of hospital nursing.
Pew Charitable Trusts of Philadelphia and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have put money on the line to carry out a comprehensive study aimed at fact-gathering and, ultimately, an in-depth look at what ails nursing, followed, it is hoped, with a plan designed to cure most, if not all, of today's shortcomings.
Baptist Medical Center has been selected as one of 80 hospitals to participate in the project. A $50,000 grant was made available for the first phase of the study, which began Aug. 1 and will continue through July of next year.
The grant will finance a year of planning at Baptist. A review at the end of the year, however, will determine whether the local phase of the study can be extended for an additional five years.
In the absence of Vice President Patricia Clifford, a medical center spokeswoman explained that the planning will encompass an investigation of the role of professional nursing, differentiating pure nursing tasks from work that might be delegated to others. "But that is only one component," she said.
At the outset, the national study appears to be a gigantic exercise in gathering information.
Every group of individuals with a stake in the process is to be identified - physicians, patients, medical staff, hospital management, and nursing school faculties, among others. Their views on nursing and its problems, plus the future, will be recorded and evaluated.
"We will be looking at all the data, including salaries, costs, and case mix management," said an official at Baptist.
A statement released earlier by Clifford, the vice president of patient care services, noted "strong support" for the project from chief executive officer Stanley Hupfeld, James Daniels, the …