OK, congressional leadership. Let’s talk American competitiveness. Where to start? Let’s begin with the nursing shortage.
Anyone hospitalized in our nation realizes pretty quickly that the nursing shortage is not a myth, and hospitals are taking drastic steps to try to maintain adequate patient care. Your nurse here in Washington may in fact be “traveling” from Georgia, living with relatives or taking a temporary apartment to commute for a period of time, and then return home or move on to another city. Migrant nurses you ask? Yes. We also have immigrant nurses from the Philippines, Canada, India and many other countries.
What exactly is going on here? And why aren’t we talking about it?
Let’s consider our veterans for a moment. How are they managing on their return from deployments around the world? They aren’t spat upon and reviled, as was the case in the Vietnam era. They are welcomed home and told to make their way in an America with fewer jobs, less opportunity and decreased paychecks. For veterans, perhaps the only thing on the rise is the suicide rate, which reached a record high of 349 last year.
In both examples, I speak to the heart of the crisis in American competitiveness and that is the waste and abuse of our country’s most valuable asset. It may be cliché, but it’s true: The most important resource we have is our people. We are wasting our citizens’ lives by not supporting their struggles to advance their education and train for a secure job.