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We love online nursing but is there a doctor in the house?

The nursing industry is booming. It has long been said that nothing tests a person’s resolve quite as much as a crisis. This is something we’ve all been witness to over the past couple of years since Covid-19 reared its ugly head.

Hospitals have been overflowing since those first early days and every time it looks like we’re catching a break, the numbers start surging again. Everyone in healthcare has been working, sometimes around the clock, with few breaks and sometimes even fewer success stories in those early days.

Not only was SARS-CoV-2 a relative unknown but it emerged as a cross-species disease thought to have spilled over from live birds in a Wuhan, China marketplace to a vendor. From there, the rest is history, or what we can piece together of it. 

Mixed Messages Add to the Confusion

Since there was so little reliable information coming out in the very beginning, it seemed as though everyone had a different viewpoint on just what this novel coronavirus actually was and how it would spread.

While the world’s leading epidemiologists and virologists knew that it was airborne and spread through microscopic particulates, there was also some amount of controversy over whether or not it could be spread on surfaces.

In those first weeks, people were advised to let mail sit for a period of time before bringing it in and were also urged to use hand sanitizer before and after handling anything that was just delivered to their home or office. 

The one thing that was a certainty would be how few experts agreed even among themselves and that if you wanted what you considered to be “reliable” information you chose a camp and subscribed to it.

For this reason, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States and the Director of the NIAID emerged as the leading authority on all things Covid-19.

Staffing Issues Growing Worse by the Day and Professional Nursing Could be the Answer

With so little reliable information in those early days and doctors now being required to work even longer hours than ever before, a great number of physicians simply began retiring early or even changing professions.

The world was already short thousands of doctors and now Covid was demanding more of these already overworked professionals than they could muster the energy for.

Nurses began taking on greater responsibilities and many decided that this was the time to advance their degrees to give them the credentials needed to affect real change in a healthcare system that was failing patients.

By enrolling in nursing leadership courses offered at Baylor University they would be preparing for a non-clinical DNP career within the administration.

While some RNs enrolled in DNP Clinical Practice graduate studies with the intention of filling voids left by physicians retiring and leaving the profession, others felt that their mission in life was to work toward administrative positions in which they could bring healthcare back to a patient-centric industry. 

A Nation at War with Itself: Online Nursing to the Rescue

Unfortunately, much of that early misinformation carried over onto long-term situations in which we’ve created what amounts to being a nation at war with itself.

Instead of working together to mitigate the spread of a lethal disease, we are still arguing such things as the efficacy of masking and distancing. Some people are still disputing the reliability and safety of the vaccines and we even have groups fighting over which vaccine offers the best level of immunity.

Some have made it a political statement while others yet find that religion has all the answers. In all this, there still remains the fact that we simply don’t have the resources to provide adequate patient care for the large numbers of patients still requiring hospitalization.

There isn’t a hospital in the nation that isn’t at or near capacity in their ICU department and with a shortage of healthcare or nursing professionals across the board, something needs to be done, and the sooner the better.

No More Band-Aids!

To date, it seems as though every ‘fix’ has been nothing more than a Band-Aid. However, it will take more than a Band-Aid to fix a broken system. The nation’s handling of the pandemic or lack of a reasonable response is due largely in part to a system that has needed revamping for decades.

The initial steps which began with Obamacare could have reached further in the ensuing years but without a champion, it was doomed to stall. 

Now is the time when all the shortcomings are painfully obvious because we’ve had a chance to witness Murphy’s Law of healthcare. What could go wrong, did go wrong, but that doesn’t mean it’s doomed to failure going forward.

With the vision of true heroes like Dr. Fauci and those nurses willing to step forward into positions of greater responsibility, we may never need another Band-Aid. Let’s fix the system once and for all. No one can promise there won’t be another pandemic but let’s not repeat the mistakes of our past.

A New Generation of Leaders

This brings us back to the beginning where we see the need for a new generation of leaders in healthcare and nursing is great place to start.

That Doctor of Nursing Practice with an emphasis on administration has all the ingredients necessary to fix an antiquated system, a system that let us down when we needed it most. Perhaps that is the one good thing to come out of such a horrific couple of years.

By having worked in the system with all its failures, it is easier to envision working within a system that has analyzed shortcomings to set into motion practices and policies that offer real results.

Instead of leaving policy in the hands of lawmakers, why not insert DNPs with a vision for tomorrow, a vision rooted in healthcare as it’s meant to be? Together with DNPs on the clinical side, administrative DNPs can create an environment in which patients are where they are meant to be, and that would be in the center of all that healthcare is and is focused on being.