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The Time for Palliative Care

Jan 30, 2015

intravenous-141551_150People involved in palliative care spend less time talking about what it is than they spend talking about what it's not. Because what palliative care is not supposed to be is hospice---in essence, end-of-life care. Palliative care is intended to exist in space between standard, aggressive treatment models and hospice care. While it does involve critically or chronically ill patients, those patients may still be seeking curative measures. In palliative care, though, the goal is to balance curative efforts with comfort and cost issues. And that can be a delicate balancing act. A recent Becker's Hospital Review post takes note of fears that palliative care is "agenda-driven," or an effort to limit care. Becker's quotes a prominent palliative care physician, who cedes, "When starting palliative care, you make the argument that you're improving patient satisfaction, improving quality of care, improving bedside care and then discuss, by the way, there might be better resource allocation as well."

Let's Hear About Audiology

Jan 28, 2015

thY1FQ881BWe recently looked at CareerCast's list of "Best Jobs in Healthcare" for 2015. At the top of that list—meaning it ranks as one of the top jobs in all of the U.S. economy, not just health jobs—is Audiologist. Audiologists, of course, are medical professionals who specialize in treating ear issues, especially those related to the middle and inner ear. They fit hearing aids; conduct hearing screenings; clean ear canals; and perform education-related functions, too, such as enabling hard-of-hearing patients to learn compensatory strategies such as lip reading. Unlike other job categories that seem to rotate in—and then back out—of top-job lists from year to year, audiology as a career path has been a mainstay in these annual best-of rankings.

50 Years of NPs

Jan 26, 2015

th7LGRV236We talk a lot about how much various healthcare professions are expected to grow in the next 10 years or so, but recent data released by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) tells us just how much the field of nurse practitioner has already grown. According to the AANP, the number of nurse practitioners in the U.S. has risen from around 106,000 in 2004 to 205,000 in 2014. That means the number of NPs has just about doubled in the last decade, for those of you who aren't good with numbers.

Respiratory Therapists: They Don't Get No Respect!

Jan 23, 2015

thVOV0BMWCIn a recent U.S. News and World Report online post, Timothy Myers of the American Association for Respiratory Care called respiratory therapists "the Rodney Dangerfield(s) of health care." The reason being that respiratory therapists are often seen strolling around hospitals in basic scrubs, getting mistaken for nurses and nursing assistants, carrying an assortment of strange-looking inhalers and other weird tools of the trade. And unlike many medical professionals, respiratory therapists can find work with "only" an associate's degree. But the truth is that respiratory therapy is a vital and growing occupational field. As our population ages, more people are falling victim to pulmonary ailments. More than 15 million adults in the U.S. are living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), for instance, and asthma rates have increased by around 30 percent since 2000.

Three-Year Med School: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

Jan 21, 2015

thGVOF8LVTIn a recent post, we discussed whether the predicted physician shortage is "real" or not. We've heard for several years now that our aging population, combined with more people insured through the ACA, will lead to a dearth of doctors in the decades to come. Some observers believe the shortage is coming; others say... not so much. But even the doubters acknowledge that there will at least be regional shortages, especially in rural areas where there are fewer private practices, older doctors are retiring, and hospitals and health systems are struggling to meet demand. And one answer for shortages—whether those shortages are a national issue, or a local/regional problem— may lie in a trend toward more three-year tracks at medical schools.

Is There Really a Doctor Shortage?

Jan 19, 2015

thWhat if the oft-predicted doctor shortage is a false alarm? That's the billion-dollar question posted in a recent Becker's Hospital Review article ("What if we were wrong about the physician shortage.") Because we've all heard the story before: People are living longer, and our population is aging (19 percent over age 65 by 2030); more people are gaining access to insurance through the ACA; and many of our working docs are reaching retirement age. But what if it's not that simple? Becker's quotes industry observers who believe that not only is the predicted shortage overblown, but that our efforts to fix it will do more harm than good.

Zeus Speaks

Jan 17, 2015

  Zeus, Preservation Pub's resident spiritual counselor, holds forth on matters great and small. Do you have any wisdom for the New Year? I believe that every day is New Year's. That means we must be open to change every day. For this New Year, people should be more spiritually minded, and open to the Truth. And don't go with what somebody else has told you. Go by what you have seen and heard for yourself. Have patience because the Truth will be revealed. Remember that there are a lot of fools in this world. And they all want company. Who do you think killed John F. Kennedy? "They" killed him. Certain groups, organizations that want to keep themselves hidden. And they were able to play from the left field instead of the right. Do you believe in extra-terrestrial life? I know life out there exists. The Universe is too big for humans to be alone. We're just one little dot. There are many different realms, and Earth is a gateway. That's why you should be good to everyone you meet. Because you never know who you're talking to. Kindness and goodness will always be your protector. Will Kim Kardashian and Kanye West stay together? I think they will, but at times they will be separated in the public's eye, for promotional purposes. It will appear they aren't together in the public eye, when they really are. Because money makes the world go 'round. Zeus' wisdom for the month: "There's a well over there, and it's got water. But you've got to get your own cup."  

Another Look at Nursing

Jan 16, 2015

thI282VP33The status of nursing, as a career option, has seemingly been in a state of constant flux these last few years. And make no mistake, nursing is a fine career choice by most ordinary measures, one that offers a good salary, job security, with good growth prospects for the future. But the level of that growth has been in question. Some say older nurses are hanging on longer, meaning fewer opportunities for younger nurses and nurses new to the field. Others say that, sooner or later, the dam's going to break. And that the pressures of a changing healthcare landscape and an aging population will inevitably bring about more nursing jobs.

Docs' Career Advice: Reconsider!

Jan 14, 2015

thESK44J6AThere's little surprise in the fact that in a recent survey published in the journal Academic Medicine, 88 percent of responding nurse practitioners said they would recommend their own career to prospective students. What is surprising is that in the same survey, 66 percent of responding primary care physicians said they would also recommend that qualified college students explore their options as a nurse practitioners. What's more, only 56 percent of those same doctors said they would recommend their own career. Sixty-seven percent of nurse practitioners said they would recommend a career as a primary care physician. The survey looked at 972 clinicians—505 doctors, and 467 NPs. And the survey suggests that the results can be explained in terms of a fundamental issue—job satisfaction.

Easy Does It: The Least Stressful Jobs in Healthcare

Jan 12, 2015

dusk-551427_150Healthcare, as an industry, has never been conducive to stress-free environments. But in a recent CareerCast list of the least stressful jobs for 2015, four of the top 10 spots were taken by healthcare professions. CareerCast rated the jobs according to several stress factors—travel; growth potential; deadlines; public scrutiny; competitiveness; physical rigor; environment; risks to life and limb. Higher scores mean higher stress levels, and the highest-scoring career was firefighter, at 71.59. So which healthcare jobs were rated the least stressful? Audiologist came in at number two overall on the CareerCast list, with a stress rating of 6.3. Reasons for audiologists' low stress quotient included the fact that they usually work in quiet environments, and have a good deal of control over their schedules.