Hospital Mergers: Good or Bad for Nurses?

hospitalBig hospitals gobble up little ones all the time.

Usually, the smaller hospitals can’t compete with the giants in the other part of town, and they end up becoming a part of the greater conglomerate.

Nurses often don’t have a say in the moving and shaking that occurs on the corporate level, but we certainly feel the effects of it. In some ways, hospital mergers can be a good thing, but in many situations, they lead to bad effects for nurses.

Unfortunately, these large hospitals are what the landscape of healthcare is going to look like in the future.

As nurses, we need to take advantage of what we can and attempt to defend ourselves against the problems that come with large corporate decisions.

Advantages for Nurses

Becoming an employee of a larger company does have some advantages.

In some cases, you may have the ability to get better benefits due to the larger, stronger company imposing their employee policies.

You can also find more opportunities in a larger company, such as jobs at different places that the conglomerate holds.

This opens up a wealth of career choices, such as working for same day surgery centers, satellite hospitals, and the like.

Finally, you have the power of a larger company behind you, and this can shake up some of the backward practices in the management of your facility.

They may make sweeping changes to how different policies are enforced, and this could come out in your favor, making the job much more attractive to nurses.

Disadvantages for Nurses

Although there are several advantages to hospital mergers, there are some disadvantages, as well. When every facility in an area is owned by the same place, it makes it difficult to get a job if fired from that conglomerate.

In essence, this cuts down the amount of jobs available to nurses and can leave some out in the cold if they upset the wrong people. Larger companies are also less concerned with the intricacies of the lower ranking workers.

Some large companies don’t have the human touch. They fail to understand what it is like for the nurse on the floor, and that can mean rules that don’t make your job any easier.

In addition, larger companies can impose their will on nurses who were doing just fine the way they were. It adds complications in the working of the floor, can frustrate those used to the old ways, and make things more difficult to deal with for the floor nurse.

The Future of Healthcare

Unfortunately, hospital mergers are going to be the future of healthcare. Smaller facilities just can’t afford to compete with the bigger hospitals.

Smaller facilities also can’t handle the overall cost of healthcare, and this means that they can’t afford to pay for nurses. While you may find a nice place to work, that place may always be in financial jeopardy.

Medicine is controlled by capitalism, the same as any other market in our society. The larger hospitals have more power, have more money, and can provide a more comprehensive treatment plan for the patient.

But what about monopolies and anti-trust laws? Aren’t these conglomerates leading down that road, too?

In the future, we may find medical centers broken up due to these laws, but for now, the future of healthcare is about the large medical centers. Whether this is good or bad for nurses is still left to judge, but knowing the problems ahead of time can help us forestall the worst of it.

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