Visiting Nurses Are Essential to Healthcare
By Norene Mostkoff, President & CEO
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to appear on Atlanta’s NPR radio station WABE 90.1 program “A Closer Look” to discuss the nursing profession and the ways in which the nurses of Visiting Nurse Health System | Hospice Atlanta meet the needs of person-centered care.
Staying Healthy Starts at Home
I welcomed the opportunity to educate the public about the amazing work our nurses do every day, allowing our patients to age-in-place rather than moving into a nursing home. Our dedicated nurses meet the special needs of homebound patients. I was happy to spread the word on the importance of nurses visiting patients in their home because staying healthy starts at home. Visiting nurses are crucial to public health. An in-home nurse can discover that a patient who is in the emergency room every month due to a diabetic crisis doesn’t have proper refrigeration for his insulin. We can then get him a small refrigerator and reduce emergency room visits and the associated costs. The work our nurses do is truly incredible and adds particular value to person-centered care.
Georgia Nurses Association estimates a nursing shortage of about 50,000 nurses by 2030 in the state of Georgia alone. The population is aging, and baby boomers are living with chronic diseases longer, which in turn creates higher demand for skilled nurses. Currently, there are more nurses at the end of their career than at the beginning. The number of nurses under 30 years old is very small with the average age of a nurse being around 47 years old. We can expect a lot of retired nurses among us soon. How do we combat this? We are competing with all kinds of healthcare providers so we must reach out to nurses that have true passion and a calling for the unique work we do. We must be a great place to work. We must create opportunities in the way of rewarding career paths. In addition, we must transform the way people work. One of the ways we are meeting this goal is by using technology to minimize time in the car. We serve 26 counties in Georgia and our nurses are able to schedule patients in a way that reduces drive time by mapping an efficient route that works best for them.
I was recently named Chair of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America and I am excited and truly honored to be a part of an organization that represents in-home nurses and their essential contribution to the healthcare delivery system. We want to keep people healthy and out of hospitals. We want to promote a healthy lifestyle, with focus on primary care, so we can reduce illness and disease. Using this platform, I will continue to work hard to ensure in-home nurses are represented in the industry to which they are so vital.
If you or someone you know is a Registered Nurse interested in a career with Visiting Nurse / Hospice Atlanta, please call our Human Resources department at 404-215-6095 to discuss career options, follow us on our Twitter career page or look for specific positions on vnhs.org/career.