Tag Archives: Healthcare

The Most Trusted Professionals Need a Title!

Today I sent a letter to my Congressman, using a nifty widget that the ANA sends out from the RNAction platform. I had to select my “title” from the following list:
Mr.
Mrs.
Ms.
Dr.
ADM
Ambassador
BGEN
Bishop
Brother
CAPT
Capt
Captain
Cardinal
CDR
Chaplain
CMSgt
COL
Colonel
Congressman
CPT
Del.
Drs.
Fr.
GEN
Gov.
Honorable
Imam
Judge
LCDR
LGen
LT
Lt Gen
LTC
LTG
MAJ
MAJ GEN
Master
MG
Miss
MSG
MSgt
Prof
Rabbi
RADM
Rector
Rep.
Rev.
Senator
SFC
SGM
SFT
Sister
SST
SSGT
The Hon.
The Right Reverend
The Very Reverend
VADM

THERE IS NO TITLE FOR NURSES! We are supposed to come to the table as equal partners with physicians according to the IOM’s plan to reform our health care system in a meaningful way…yet we have no title.

Nurses are the most respected professionals in this country for 17 years straight but still we have no professional title? I call BS! It was explained to me that Congress has not yet approved an official title for nurses, so we can’t use one. Well, time to create one! If we can, as a profession, choose and propose a title, we can make it happen. Please help me send this around to all the nurses you know, so that we might engage in a profession-wide discussion and finally get the respect we deserve by having a title.

We can create a hashtag such as #TitleforNurses, #NursingProfessionalTitle or #Nrs.isMyTitle

Let’s make it happen! Please complete the poll below.

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The “Gag Rule” – Trump’s Kowtow to the Religious Right. How we can Fight Back.

Title X provides federal funding for family planning services. Organizations like Planned Parenthood utilize this funding for services such as ;

  • Wellness exams
  • Lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings
  • Birth control
  • Contraception education
  • Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV testing.

These services are provided at affordable rates to low-income patients, thanks in part to this funding source. However, a cabal of conservatives has requested that Trump issue a rule that would  effectively ban Planned Parenthood and similar organizations from providing abortion and related services under the same roof as operations funded by federal family-planning grants, according to an administration official. This includes offering patients information and/or referrals to safe abortion providers. This rule would effectively do three things to the Planned Parenthood clientele – 2/3 of whom are below the federal poverty level in terms of income –

  1. Impose new rules designed to make it impossible for patients to get birth control or preventive care from reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood.
  2. Prevent health care providers across the country — including doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers — from referring their patients for safe, legal abortion.
  3. Remove the guarantee that patients get full and accurate information about their health care from their doctor.

Just at the moment when historic gains are being made in Ireland regarding a woman’s right to control her own reproductive system, this rule seeks to take the  United States backward to a time when women had little to no control. Shades of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Physicians and nurses have considerable clout. Doctors because of their well-funded lobbying efforts and socioeconomic status. Nurses have two things: sheer numbers and the confidence and trust of the American People. Nurses have now been for 16 years voted the most trusted professionals in this country. It’s time to join our collective voices and advocate for those who cannot – namely the marginalized, socially, economically, and culturally disadvantaged.

OK, so maybe you don’t believe in abortion except in cases of rape or incest. Well, then you do believe a woman should have a right to an abortion, based upon the reason. Who is to judge what is a good or valid reason? If you agree that a woman who was raped should not be made to carry to term, then you believe in abortion rights. Period. You can’t pick and choose the reason. The Supreme Court has again and again reinforced the constitutionality of a woman’s right to choose.

If you believe that no women should be able to have an abortion, then you must also care for their children by providing a safe home, adequate food and health care, education, and support for the parent’s ability to obtain decent child care. Failure to do so rescinds your moral high ground. Christ implored his followers to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, take in those in need in Matthew 25:35-36, “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, 36 I was naked and you clothed Me. I was sick and you looked after Me…” I believe that is pretty clear directive – as we know he goes on to say that whatever you do for the least of his brothers is done directly unto him.

What can you do if you would like to fight the gag rule? You can submit comments to the Department of Health and Human Services via this website

https://www.weareplannedparenthoodaction.org/onlineactions/yOKxyIomxUO-EFoTcvQbHg2?_ga=2.91165785.213420659.1527432943-1212086471.1527432943

You can call/write/text/email your Representatives in congress to ask them not to support this effort to take needed health care services away from those with the least ability to pay. Please, help. So many people are depending upon Nurses to take a greater role politically. The IOM said as much in its vision for the future of health care. Now is the time.

 

 

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Diversity in Nursing, and in our Nation – We Must Protect our Greatest Strength

MULTICULTURALCAPELLAGRADSBuilding a nation of immigrants was long considered America’s greatest strength, and many of our fine Presidents have expressed this eloquently. George Washington, arguably the country’s founding father, said, “The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respected Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges…” Woodrow Wilson is quoted as saying, ““We came to America, either ourselves or in the persons of our ancestors, to better the ideals of men, to make them see finer things than they had seen before, to get rid of the things that divide and to make sure of the things that unite.”  Franklin Roosevelt is blunt, “Remember, remember always, that all of us, you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” Unless a person is a Native American, we are all immigrants. Period.

More recently, George W. Bush considered this subject and stated, “Nearly all Americans have ancestors who braved the oceans – liberty-loving risk takers in search of an ideal – the largest voluntary migrations in recorded history… Immigration is not just a link to America’s past; it’s also a bridge to America’s future.” The photo above was taken last week at Capella University’s commencement ceremony. These five women earned their Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN), specializing in the area of Informatics. They represent President Bush’s prediction that immigrants are America’s (and nursing’s) future. Each one is either an immigrant or a first-generation American. They represent diverse heritages – Jewish, Jamaican, Nepali, Polish, and Hispanic. All are under attack at this terrible time in our country’s history – by neo-Nazis, white supremacists, racists, xenophobes, and the current administration. Why?

The politics of division. Adolf Hitler used this strategy in Germany to upend a society, brainwash and corrupt a citizenry, and murder 6 million innocent people. Because they were not considered “white enough”. Unthinkable in today’s world? Unfortunately the Dylan Roofs of this country continue the tradition of murdering innocents based on nothing more than the color of their skin or the religion they practice. President Wilson said we must get rid of the things that divide. How can we let this continue?

Nursing leaders understand the importance of culturally competent care. National standards for culturally and linguistically appropriate services in health and healthcare (CLAS) have been established by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Diversity in the nursing workforce is slowly manifesting, but if this photo is any indication, diversity in nursing leadership is rapidly on the rise. We are tasked to practice in a culturally competent manner. But we need to to more. We must #resist. We must work together with the American Nurses Association to advocate for health care for all, for sane immigration policies, for continuation of the Dream Act, for strengthening of the Affordable Care Act, for the health of our people and our nation.

The current administration’s efforts to build a wall are antithetical to George W. Bush’s view of immigration. This policy direction is unacceptable. It’s un-American. We must take action, and build President Bush’s bridge to the future. It’s the only way to make America great again.

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Travel Ban, Boehner, and Obamacare – The Importance of Sane Policy

The photo above was taken on the last day of  #HIMSS17, the Health Information Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) 17th (inter)national conference in Orlando. The people are all “program assistants” – students who were selected by a very competitive process to attend and assist with the conference. I was fortunate to be one of them.

But look closely. As a white American woman, I was not really “one of them”. I was in the minority. The students were from all over the world –  Nigeria, India, China, Latin America, Singapore, and some were from the USA. But as an old white woman, I was an anomaly. These are the best and the brightest in the world of health information technology (HIT). We are made stronger by their presence in our country.

It was at HIMSS17 that John Boehner uttered the now famous words that a full repeal and replace of Obamacare is, “not what’s going to happen”. I saw it. I heard it. I believe it. Also brought up in the keynote discussion between former Speaker Boehner and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell was the fact that 30% of the American People want to repeal Obamacare but keep the Affordable Care Act. Oy vey.

How can we educate the American People as to the importance of allowing immigration which benefits all of us, and informing themselves about health care policy and what it truly is and means for them? It’s up to each one of us to continue to #resist and educate our fellow Americans as to the realities in today’s health care sector. Our health depends upon it.

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Nurses Provide Vision for New Administration – Letter to Mr. Trump

Dr. Cipriano, head of the American Nurses Association has sent a letter to the President-Elect, with guidance and goals for achieving health care reform that promotes the health of the nation, progress, and economic growth.

It is well worth reading, which you can do by clicking the link below:

http://nursingworld.org/HomepageCategory/NursingInsider/ANAs-Letter-to-President-Elect-Donald-Trump.html#.WEwP-_br5G8.facebook

You can also print, share, send it via email to those who would benefit from having this information, and take an opportunity to participate in the conversation.

Nurses must get involved in policy and politics at all levels. As the most trusted group of professionals in the country, the voice of nursing speaks with authority! We are called to action by our own code of ethics.

Please read and share this important letter with colleagues, friends, representatives, and anyone who might be willing and able to join with nurses in prioritizing health and wellness for all our citizens.

 

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Nurses Continue to Illuminate the World

 

The defeat of the ANA-endorsed Presidential candidate seems a tacit endorsement of the campaign rhetoric of her opponent. Nurses are a diverse group. For some this election result may be cause for celebration. Others mourn. One thing unites us all – we are nurses. We are called to our profession due to our unshakable belief in the goodness of humanity, and the universal need to care for persons, families, communities, nations, the world, and the environment through the art and science of nursing.

The question arises: what would Flo do? A pertinent quotation shines forth. “It is the unqualified result of all my experience with the sick,that second only to their need of fresh air, is their need for light.” Let us continue to be the light.

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New Hope for Nurse Practitioners in Michigan

Yesterday, a bill easing restrictions on Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) was slated to be introduced to the Michigan House of Representatives by Ken Yonker (R) from District 72. Michigan suffers from a critical shortage of primary care practitioners, with over 300 federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) covering practically the entire state. Only two states have a greater number of primary care HPSAs – California and Texas. Both California and Texas have significantly larger populations and land mass. What can we infer from this? It’s pretty bad in Michigan. For a map of all HPSAs in the US click here:
http://datawarehouse.hrsa.gov/Tools/MapToolQuick.aspx?mapName=HPSAPC

A previously introduced bill was rendered practically moot by significant lobby activity by the Michigan State Medical Society. Arguing that allowing APRNs greater autonomy would put patients at risk, the MSMS was able to dilute the provisions of Senate Bill 68 significantly enough to make it resemble their version of what it should say.  Knowing that a host of studies, meta-studies, and two Cochrane reviews have demonstrated APRN care to be equal to that of primary care physicians in terms of outcomes, safety, and patient satisfaction, this argument is patently false. APRNs only practice within the scope of their training and licensure, and have many more years of clinical training, ethics education, patient interaction and experience than do Physician Assistants. There is no parallel.

Nurses have to get on board with this effort and ensure that, this time, this legislation is not thrown off-course by powerful lobby interests. We owe it to the citizens of the state of Michigan to enhance our residents’ access to affordable, quality health care. Michigan is one of only about 6 states in the entire USA to continue the highest level of restrictions on APRN practice. Get involved! Say something! Do something! At the very least, contact your Representatives and Senators to support Rep. Ken Yonker’s effort to bring greater health access to Michigan’s medically underserved. Frankly, the situation is downright unethical… Please send a thank you to Rep. Yonker at the very least and tweet your support to @MIHouseGOP.

 

 

 

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Leveraging Nursing Expertise: A Message from the President on Taking off the Shackles

Nursing’s repeat appearance as America’s most trusted profession prompted the President of the ANA , Dr. Pamela Cipriano, to write a blog post, picked up by the Huffington Post. Pick it up here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pamela-f-cipriano-phd-rn-neabc-faan/leveraging-the-expertise-_b_8886198.html

In this post, Dr. Cipriano presents 4 ways  in which this country can move the health care agenda forward to facilitate better patient outcomes.

  1. Modernize payment systems to incentivise the use of Multidisciplinary Teams.
  2. Take the shackles off of APRNs to allow them a full scope of unfettered practice.
  3. Place more nurses on hospital and corporate boards.
  4. Protect nurses from on-the-job injuries.

As we advocate for our fellow RNs in Michigan, we should not fail to stretch ourselves to achieve our own full potential. Regrettably the link which was posted in my last post has expired, and the video no longer plays. We should not be discouraged, but continue to give our voices full volume and reach out to the public, politicians, and employers.

We can continue the work started in the Year of the Nurse to make this THE DECADE OF THE NURSE 2015-2025. I’m on board!

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2015: The Year of the Nurse!

From blundering talk-show hosts to arrogant physicians and hospitals, nurses have had to take their power and poise to present who we really are to the public. The public has never wavered in their belief that nurses are the most trustworthy healthcare professionals in this country  – in fact the most trustworthy of any profession! (see http://www.gallup.com/poll/180260/americans-rate-nurses-highest-honesty-ethical-standards.aspx).

So why are the #Michigan68 getting the shaft and why are nurses underpaid and underappreciated? Because we are doing for our patients and too honest and ethical to value our own services above their health? Now is the time to insist upon being valued, to advocate for our fellow RNs and to continue to spread the word via social media, tele-media and print media that we are standing strong with the #Michigan68. This touching video from a CRNA in Florida really hits home:

https://video.xx.fbcdn.net/hvideo-xap1/v/t42.1790-2/12464614_134058133634869_172016573_n.mp4?efg=eyJybHIiOjM4MywicmxhIjo2MjIsInZlbmNvZGVfdGFnIjoidjNfNDI2X2NyZl8yM19tYWluXzMuMF9zZCJ9&rl=383&vabr=213&oh=a2db808ccc386abe0b6ac29602b0671d&oe=5689F854

The opportunity to reinvent one’s self comes with a high cost in terms of comfort and security. But it opens up new possibilities to achieve our dreams. I am doing that by completing an MSN in Informatics. RNs are continually pursuing graduate degrees and adding new sources of wisdom and ideas to our professional knowledge base. Let us move confidently forward into 2016 and build upon “the Year of the Nurse”.

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More Nurses = Better Survival

As if it isn’t bad enough to be in the hospital, some patients suffer an in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA)! Along with C difficile, MRSA and other nosocomial scourges, IHCA can occur for a variety of reasons. Survival is surely desired by both the patient and the hospital. As it turns out, the best way to increase the odds of patient survival is by increasing the number of nurses available to care for them, and making sure the nurses are well treated. So says the Physician’s Briefing in an article released yesterday. Here’s the link:

http://www.physiciansbriefing.com/Article.asp?AID=706195

So WHY are hospitals trying to reduce their nursing staffs and reduce their pay and benefits? It’s counter-productive! Nurses, get on your computers and spread the word: the best chance a person will ever have to survive a hospital is to go to one with an above-average number of nurses to patients and one that pays and treats their nurses well.

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