Perspective on "The Doctor Shortage"

A People-Centred Perspective on “The Doctor Shortage”

Perspective on "The Doctor Shortage"Consider the following People-Centred statements:

“Quite frankly, there is no doctor shortage.”

“There is an immense shortage of Nurse Practitioners.”

“There are severe Human Resource Management problems in a system built around the belief that doctors are responsible for everything.”

Human resources account for 70% of the costs of healthcare. At a time of limited finances in a system where everyone in frontline healthcare wonders where the Care has gone, why not examine exciting new models for support teams to embrace?

It’s estimated the average general practitioner invests 60-80% of their work time doing things a nurse practitioner, nurse, health coach, or other team member could do. Based on this fact alone, we don’t have a doctor shortage – we have a shortage of ideas

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on how to use the valuable resources medical doctors offer. To address this would require a team working collaboratively in a trusting relationship, with a common goal: to put the needs of the person first.

All doctors are specialists if they focus on doing what only a doctor can do. On the other hand, is a doctor a doctor or an NP if s/he invests 60-80% of her time doing what an NP qualifies to do?

Current training forces doctors into a system where they’re diagnosing and treating individual symptoms while seeing 30-70 people per day just to pay the bills. Why graduate more doctors to do what they do now? Why not, instead, do this –

  • Graduate doctors specialized in diagnosing complex health issues and treating their causes. Then they can work for the people who really need their training and insight.
  • Graduate doctors who understand their own strengths – willing either to be team leaders, or to delegate the management of the team to people who can work effectively with nurse practitioners, nurses, health coaches, and alternative medicine to design Support Programs which address the expectations and goals of the person seeking help.
  • Focus on the goal of having one Nurse Practitioner for every doctor.

Then consider this for a future discussion…. It is also estimated that nurses invest 50-80% of their time doing things that PSWs, administrative staff, or technology could be doing!

High time for a People-Centred perspective at the policy table.

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