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Posted by on Oct 8, 2017 in Employment | 0 comments

The nursing crisis

The country is heading towards a health care crisis. No, this is not an article about Obamacare or recent changes the GOP has made (or failed to make) to the overall system. Insurance and coverage remain major problems for the US going forward, but this article is about a different issue: nurses.

You may not think much about nurses unless you’re sick, but nurses play a pretty major role in providing health care. For some, nurses are almost the only medically trained professional they encounter for most of their lives. With the nurse stations at CVS and Walgreens, it’s now possible to get most small medical complaints seen by a nurse instead of heading to a doctor’s office.

The problem is this: we don’t have enough nurses, and it looks like we’re going to have a very serious decline in the future.

At the moment, the average age of a registered nurse is in the late-40s. Think of another profession where that’s the case—there aren’t many. That number suggests that America’s nurses are aging and their numbers aren’t being replenished by younger applicants and novices.

Why is this happening?

It’s hard to be sure just how serious the problem is right now and also why it’s happening in the first place. One primary point to both questions is that our health care system is just pretty screwed up. It’s complicated, much more so than systems that are nationalized in other countries. We have dozens of major insurance companies, private and public hospitals, charity clinics, and plenty of other forms of medical service. Much of the health care system, such as Medicaid, is overseen not by the federal government but by each state. That means there are fifty different systems in use for Medicaid alone.

What all of this means, in aggregate, is that it is hard to know exactly what the nursing situation looks like with all those different factors to consider. It is clear we are suffering from a shortage, but it is hard to say beyond that.

This complex system (and one that is always in threat of changing drastically at any moment) is one reason many are not choosing nursing as a career. While being a doctor is sure to bring in a good income and some stability no matter what happens to the laws of the land, that isn’t necessarily the case with nurses.

Another issue is how often nurses are expected to work beyond their set hours in order to keep hospital budgets in line. Nurses can end up working before and after shifts with no compensation just to avoid the hospital paying overtime.

Again, this is complicated by the public and private nature of hospitals with many expected to earn profits for investors while others have different budgetary concerns.

Regardless of the cause and immediate nature of the issue, we are heading towards a crisis in nursing in the future. That’s just one more reason to develop a more cohesive and permanent solution to America’s health care problems.

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Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in Employment | 0 comments

Various Protections Provided by ADEA

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) prohibits any discriminatory acts (based on age) against persons 40 years and older in matters wherein employment conditions or privileges are the issues; these, of course, include hiring, promotion, retention of employment, job assignment, compensation and benefits, training, layoff, and all other employment-related issues. The protection provided by ADEA is intended for both job applicants and employees and the Act itself applies to state and local governments, labor organizations, employment agencies and all private companies with 20 or more employees (this Act also provides protection for US citizens hired and working for US employers overseas, so long as no laws of that country will be violated by the Act).

ADEA offers protection against discrimination based on age as well as against any form of retaliatory acts. This latter protection is also provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it unlawful for an employer or manager to retaliate against an employee who: complains about age discrimination practices in the workplace; files a complaint to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about a violation on any of the stipulations of ADEA (or other discriminatory acts based on other reasons); or, participates or testifies in an investigation or lawsuit proceedings regarding employment discrimination.

Some of the other types of protection that ADEA provides include:

  • The non-inclusion of age specification, limit or preference in job advertisements and notices, unless in jobs where age is a bona fide occupational qualification, such as an actor supposed to play the role of a young adult in a film
  • Strictly limiting inquiries regarding a person’s age (during job interviews) for lawful purposes, such as to determine the possible length of service a person may be able to render. This is applicable in jobs like an airline pilot or bus driver which requires a mandatory retirement age
  • Prohibition of offensive remarks about a person’s age, which may be construed as harassment (except when such remarks are made as offhand comments or simple ways of teasing and not as insults on the person concerned)
  • Prohibition on employers to deny older employees the work benefits that they legally deserve. However, since the law recognizes the fact that costs of certain benefits provided to older employees are higher than the cost of same benefits when provided for younger workers, the law allows employers, in limited circumstances, to reduce benefits based on age, so long as the cost of the reduced benefits to older workers and the cost of the benefits provided to younger workers are the same.

With regard to making remarks about a person’s age, the law firm of Cary Kane LLP explains on its website that if such remarks are made too often, leading to the creation of a hostile working environment or resulting to employment decisions that will demote or end the older worker’s employment, then it would be necessary to consult a legal counsel. Having a competent lawyer, to protect one’s rights, becomes more essential if the older employee gets to be asked to sign accept a severance package in exchange for signing a release form.

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