The Coming Catastrophe of Medical and Nursing Education

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the heat, intricacies, and excitement over the politics, economics, and technologies of Health Care (and Healthcare – know the difference).

But you know what? We still need brains and hands to do important work.

It’s important for the right kinds of brains to enter life-long nursing and medical careers.

Right now, however, we are approaching a catastrophe in education – and from two ends: supply and demand. Both the supply of educational resources and the demand of the new generation for serving in Health Care are decreasing.

Today’s physicians don’t feel like they’re doing what they signed up to do.

Today’s nurses don’t feel like they’re doing what they signed up to do.

Each are fighting unnecessary wars with unnecessary people who subjugate the industry with their unnecessary idiocies.

Furthermore, we not only need a new generation of dedicated, educated, and well-trained HCPs, but we also need a new – pardon the expression – industrial complex of how Nursing and Medicine work with each other for the benefit of patients.

I can’t tell you how priceless it was for me to be able to attend an occasional lecture by a physician during nursing school.

But that’s not nearly enough.

Yes, nursing and medicine are different fields – and there are reasons for some of the barriers between them.

But the membranes that separate these professions must be much more osmotic than they ever have been.

Finding ways to better inter-mesh nursing and medical education would produce more educated nurses and physicians. It may be a higher up-front cost to do, but the long-term yields would be well worth the capital.

You can do all sorts of financial reform in Healthcare.

You can do all sorts of things with technologies in Healthcare.

That’s all welcome, of course – if done elegantly.

But none of that will convey Health Care to the places it needs to go if we don’t have a running supply of nurses, physicians, and other HCPs.

Slavoj Zizek wrote a book a few years ago titled “First As Tragedy, Then As Farce”.

You don’t have to agree or disagree with Zizek’s mashup of Hegelian/Lacanian analytics of our Century’s problems.

But, given the state of Healthcare, it’s an apt description of where we’re heading.

Think about that phrase as you reflect on Healthcare today. How many times have you encountered the Farce?

It’s absolutely farcical that there are Hospital CEOs who wouldn’t have the slightest clue about moving a patient from a bed to a chair.

It’s absolutely catastrophic that we are entering crises of shortages of *willing, able, and supported* nurses, physicians, and pharmacists.

I’ll take Zizek’s quirky phrase and advance it forward for Healthcare and what we can expect:

Healthcare: First As Farce, Then As Catastrophe.

Phil Baumann