NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Hospital Patients Bring Their Own Nurses

April 16, 2002

It's something like hiring servants: bringing your own personal nurse to the hospital with you, rather than depending on the hospital's nursing staff. And it is a trend that may be growing, even though private nurses have been available in hospitals for years.

  • In many hospitals, staff nurses are taking care of more, and sicker, patients -- meaning that some may have to wait for care.
  • The downside of hiring a private nurse is that she may be unfamiliar with the hospital and its routines -- perhaps thereby inviting mishaps.
  • Private nurses are expensive and the costs are not covered by insurance policies -- but many affluent patients and families consider the extra expense to be worthwhile for the extra peace of mind involved.
  • The fee for a practical nurse is about $20 an hour -- running to $75 an hour for an experienced registered nurse.

Source: Abigail Zuger, "Nurse Deficit? Affluent Patients Hire Their Own," New York Times, April 16, 2002.

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