Emergency care sites should use more physician assistants and nurse practitioners and encourage more men to enter nursing to ease a workforce shortage, according to a report by the Center for Health Workforce Studies at University of Albany, N.Y. The report said workforce shortages at emergency departments, urgent-care centers and ambulatory service locations, combined with an aging population, will place greater strain on the nation's emergency medical system. Problems include a registered nurse shortage, unequal distribution of board-certified emergency medicine physicians between rural and urban areas, and difficulties retaining emergency medical technicians. According to the report, nearly 20% of physicians specializing in emergency medicine worked as independent contractors, compared with 4% of all physicians. Researchers were surprised to learn states have different requirements and different scopes of practice for EMTs, where high turnover, not short supply, makes recruitment and retention a concern, said Sandra McGinnis, a senior research associate at University of Albany who worked on the study. Read the report. -- by Jessica Zigmond
Emergency medical workforce will need a boost: report
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