Troubling Nursing News Points to Need to Avoid Unnecessary Hospital Growth in Scottsdale

Regular readers of the Arizona Progress & Gazette likely know of the saga with Banner Health. It is attempting to unnecessarily build a hospital in North Scottsdale despite strong coverage by existing facilities and little community support for their plans (get up to date here). A recent national trend is now giving even further evidence as to how Banner’s plans are poorly thought out. 

Recently we learned that nursing programs are rejecting applicants in nearly record numbers, numbers that are significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels. The reason for that? Staffing shortages; there are too few qualified people to act as instructors, so programs are having to cap the amount of students they have. Recent nurse strikes have only furthered this concern.

So in the face of a national shortage of nurses and a relatively dry pipeline of future nurses, Banner Health is looking to dilute that pool of talent even further by cannibalizing existing nursing talent in the area. Meanwhile,it failed to rank amongst the best workplaces for nurses even when the local providers it aims to hurt ranked as ideal in the same survey.

But those reasons only scratch the surface. Local neighbors have rightly brought up serious concerns with traffic in the area, as well as disruption to other businesses. Those affected have taken issue with unnecessary growth that adds nothing to the quality or availability of service to the area, and simply appears to be purely financially motivated. It is a controversy with extremely little tangible benefit to the people it is purporting to help, but with some very significant potential issues.

We believe in growth, but growth that comes with a larger purpose. Growth that fulfills an unmet need in the marketplace. Growth that provides a net benefit to affected stakeholders. Growth that doesn’t have the stink of controversy attached to it. Sometimes it seems as though Banner Health forgets this, as its plans seem purely for the sake of their gain at the expense of local stakeholders.

The people of North Scottsdale didn’t need another reason to rise up and speak out against Banner Health’s wrong-headed plans to build an unneeded hospital in their backyards, but a very thin talent pool is yet another reason. We currently have an excellent standard of care with our current facilities, and should reject any proposal that is likely to negatively impact that, as Banner Health seems to want to do.