The president of the American Hospital Association says finding people to work in hospitals in Iowa and the rest of the United States is a big problem. Dick Davidson was in Des Moines Wednesday for the Iowa Hospital Association’s annual legislative day. He says the industry has the biggest worker shortage they’ve had in contemporary history, from nurses to accountants to pharmacists. The shortage of nurses has hit Iowa hard. Davidson says hospitals have a tougher time now getting women into the field.He says women have many more options for careers now than they used to have. Davidson says they’ve tried to get more men into nursing, but have only gotten the numbers up to five or six percent. He says there seems to still be a stigma for men over the term “nurse.” He says to nurse means to nurture and maybe that’s a turn off for men. He says maybe they should call it something different, like medic. Davidson says they also need to look at hiring more minorities and recruiting older people looking for a second career into the nursing home. He says there has been some good news lately. He says there’s been more interest in nursing recently, but he says they’ve found a lack of spots in schools to train them. Davidson says paperwork is another problems facing hospitals. He says for every inpatient hour in the hospital, workers have to do 30 minutes of paperwork. He says the Medicare system needs to be overhauled as the Medicare payment system is broken and we keep putting little patches on it. He says it needs to be reworked as it is out of date. Hospital administrators at the meeting were bused to the state capitol to meet with their legislators yesterday afternoon.
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