Health or Nursing Public Policy Issue: Workforce and Physician Shortage

Health or Nursing Public Policy Issue

Health care/ nursing profession public policy issues affect the providers together with the patients they serve at various levels and in a number of divergent manners, some critical.Being at the top of the current health care concerns the surrounding legislative issues helps us in general to become a vital component of the planet earth. That is, making us to constitute a socially conscious, caring and informed healthcare professionals with an explicit understanding of the underlying issues and the willingness to advocate for the best of their patients (Harrington & Estes, 2008).

This paper looks at a health/ nursing profession public policy issue of “Workforce and Physician Shortage Policy.” This analysis of the workforce and physician shortage policy would encompass scrutinizing the policy background concepts, the reasons and relevance of the health public policy issue to the population, the policy’s financial impacts on both the organization and the community, and lastly the impacts of ethical values on the

Workforce and Physician Shortage Policy Issue

Physician and the general nursing workforce shortages are the makings of news headlines on a regular basis. There is a continuous debate on the policy circles among different analysts, stakeholders and researchers on whether the shortages are because of insufficient numbers of health care service providers, or the misdistribution of the health care providers.

The debate of the technocrats  revolve on seeking solutions on whether to build more schools and ensure enlargement of  classes for graduating more physicians, sought for the incentives that would attract the care providers to areas with shortage of health professionals,undertake an expansion of the number of residency slots, or rather change the way health care is delivered.

Reasons for selecting Workforce and Physician Shortage Public Policy Issue

First, the functionality and quality of a health care delivery system is dependent of the essential infrastructure for providing needed services and the availability of medical personnel. There such critical shortage hampers the outcome of the care services and the general patients’ health performance (Kronenfeld, 2012). Secondly, looking specifically at American society, the five million health care providers directly influence the quality and cost health care through their prescriptions, diagnosis, treatments and orders. Experts deduce that the health care professionals are too few today, and there is a predicted shortage of up to 200,000 physicians and about a million nurses. This aspect makes the workforce and physician shortage inevitable public policy worth formulation and long-term solutions sought.

Relevance of the Public Policy Issue

The enactment of the health reform law in March 2010 is slated to provide additional 32 millions individuals who were previously uninsured to the rolls by 2019. This is a fundamental factor in the degree of relevance to the workforce and physician shortage public policy as it is expected to worsen the already existing shortage of workforce and physicians in the next decades (Shi & Singh, 2011).Hence, one analysis “Projected Physician demand and Supply” deduced that by 2025, this shortage could grow by as much as 25%.

Furthermore, there is need to undertake comprehensive health care audit to enable formulation of practicable cushion against the menace. This would facilitate the coverage of the extra 32 million American citizens and the legal residents as the primary aim of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of March 2010.This coverage expansion increases the demand on the future and current provider supply (Kronenfeld, 2012).

Financial Impact of the Public Policy

Seeking solutions to the workforce and physicians shortage public policy would partly entail a long-term economic investment in Graduate Medical Education (GME). Undertaking an investment in the training of physicians would ensure that the future of workforce is sufficient to provide effective, efficient health care delivery emphasizing on access, value and quality to fix the increasing demand being faced. Such an initiative of having a workforce of students graduating with a medical degree usually have huge financial impact of about a debt averaging to $145,000 for those students graduating from public medical schools, and an average of $180,000 for the ones graduating from privates schools.

Impact of my values on the position I take over the public policy.

I hold the perspective there is undisputable need for critical reforms in the health care sector collectively across the various stakeholders to curb the steep challenges healthcare service provision as we facethem. This is due to the alarming retirement of the baby boom generation and the health care reform increasing the demand that hugely drives the necessity of growing our healthcare workforce (Lohr, K. N., Vanselow, N. A., Detmer, D. E., & Institute of Medicine (U.S.), 2010). This perspective underpinned on the values and ethical principles as highlighted herein:

Team-based health care

Meeting the shortage of workforce and physicians in a healthcare setting calls for a highly coordinated team-based healthcare approach to pursue high-quality health care services provisionto individuals and the communities by two or more healthcare professionals working collaboratively with caregivers and patients to ensure accomplishment of shared goals. This would create an effective framework of timely, fast and broad coverage of health care services.


The ethical principle of justice further gives an underpinning frontier of the public policy concept of workforce and physician shortage on the aspect that if the shortage is as a result of indiscriminative or uneven distribution and placement of the health care provides, then the country or department concerned should exercise a fair and equal distribution of resources on the basis of burdens and benefits of decision. Justice refers to a scenario in which every citizen have an equal right to the distribution ofgoods, services among other resources irrespective of who they are or what they have contributed.




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