The American Medical Association's (AMA) House of Delegates abandoned its plan to implement pilot sites for a new category of health-care worker, the registered care technician (RCT), a move that was applauded by the American Nurses' Association (ANA).
In a statement issued by the Board of Trustees, the AMA stated it was discontinuing the program because various other assistive personnel are now being trained in hospital settings. The AMA said the program was successful in drawing attention to the shortage of caregivers and promoting licensed practical nurse programs. Now, however, "it is both timely and appropriate for the healthcare system to develop independent initiatives based on the accomplishments of the AMA."
ANA has opposed the creation of the RCT since it was initially proposed by the AMA in 1988. More than 100 nursing, health-care, and consumer organizations joined ANA in opposition to the RCT. The RCT concept was opposed by nursing because the duties proposed for the technician overlapped roles that, to preserve high quality of care, should be performed by registered nurses.
To address the shortage of nurses caused by an unprecedented demand for nursing services, ANA advocates the recruitment and retention of more nurses and urges employers to use nurses more effectively. Reports gathered from hospitals by the ANA indicate that the most successful nurse recruitment and retention strategies focused on professional development, increased participation in decision making, implementation of flexible scheduling, reward programs, and development of appropriate roles for assistive personnel.