Tag Archives: #NursingPower

I Am the Storm

The events which have transpired the last two days have been extraordinary. Our country, our democracy, our way of life, our fundamental beliefs have been threatened. Violence has disrupted the nation’s capital and misguided extremists have attempted to subvert our government.

We are nurses. We are tasked to take care of patients, groups, communities, and populations. The population of the United States is included. I have completed my credentialing to work with the Florida Department of Health in Lee County as a volunteer to administer COVID-19 vaccinations. It is one way I believe I can make a positive impact. I will look for other ways.

As nurses, we have a professional and ethical imperative to do what we can to heal, help, and advocate for all people living in this country. Be the warrior. A warrior for peace, truth, and health for all. I am the storm.

Tagged , , ,

Gratitude. The Antidote to 2020.

I have not written for quite some time. Life got busy. A pandemic hit. My husband lost his job. I went back to work full-time. Each of my grown children had their own crises to sort through. I started two different non-profits – one sewed more than 5000 masks for local health care providers and the other continues to inform our local community about how to stay safe and where to get tested. I resigned from both of the organizations I started when it became apparent that trying to lead them plus work full-time plus help kids plus try to be a respectful and supportive partner was just too much. I got sick. I got better. I got tired. I resolved to return to part time work in January and that’s just what I’m doing.

I work in outpatient surgery/women’s health so, although several of our patients have admitted to testing positive after coming to our clinic, my exposure is NOTHING like that of my daughter (a hospitalist) or her husband (a critical care specialist) who lead teams devoted to caring for critically ill COVID patients all day every day at work. They both got it early on, when their hospital was short on PPE. They are young and recovered, but nothing can help you recover from the daily emotional trauma of families cut off from their failing loved ones.

It’s long. We all have pandemic fatigue. What can we do to keep ourselves healthy? Other than excellent nutrition, conscientious exercise, and appropriate precautions, it turns out practicing gratitude helps. A recent article in the online news journal MD Linx describes the multiple health benefits of gratitude including reducing inflammation, BP, HR, and improved mental health and overall well-being. Sure, I thought, that’s great but how to be grateful? Other than the election which saw the demise of the Trump dynasty, there’s not a lot to be grateful for. Thank goodness the article described in depth how to do it. Here’s an excerpt and the citiation:

“All of this raises an important question: How do you start cultivating feelings of gratitude? According to some health experts, one of the best ways to do this is through writing. In his interview with NPR last year, Dr. Fox said that journaling can help condition the brain to feel more grateful more often. Fox, who completed his PhD on the neural bases of gratitude, began his own gratitude journal while grieving the death of his mother. While it didn’t stop the pain, he said he helped make the ordeal far more manageable and changed his perception of the tough time he was going through.

Gratitude journaling can take many forms. You can write down all the things you’ve felt grateful for in the past 24 hours, or you can focus on one good event and try to write down all the details of it. You can even write letters that don’t intend to send—simply the act of writing could help train your brain to acknowledge the positive sides of life well into the future.So grab a pen, get comfy, and consider all the good things in your life—from significant long-term relationships to minor things like a nice coffee break.”

https://www.mdlinx.com/article/this-simple-habit-can-have-profound-health-benefits/zkeLybH2fx8QxwQynjDk9?show_order=1&utm_campaign=12%2F17%2F2020+Evening+Warming+Alert+-snippet+header&utm_source=iPost&ipost_environment=m3usainc&utm_medium=email&iqs=9z2zggugi9q03u3tec367qhgckotpg7roitdf8vahsg

Since my handwriting is atrocious, I grabbed my computer. Same thing. So day one I will focus on being grateful for my continued health and ability to financially withstand reducing my hours to part-time in January. These are not small things to be grateful for. In fact they are HUGE. So many Americans cannot make those statements. So, ok, your turn. Let’s take care of ourselves the best we can, and try to include gratitude every day. I am grateful to anyone out there that may be reading this, and especially grateful if it helps you.

Tagged , , , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Celebrate the Opportunity to Do What is Right this Fourth of July…

We have all heard that “freedom isn’t free”, and that it is our armed services who are preserving our freedom. Not so much in this digital age. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released it’s investigative conclusions yesterday (July 3, 2018), which support the findings of the joint efforts of the NSA, CIA, and FBI. These findings include,

We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in
2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine
public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm
her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian
Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.

We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect
Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and
publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.

Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets
associated with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, including targets
associated with both major U.S. political parties. We assess Russian
intelligence services collected against the U.S . primary campaigns, think
tanks, and lobbying groups they viewed as likely to shape future U.S. policies.
In July 2015, Russian intelligence gained access to Democratic National
Committee (DNC) networks and maintained that access until at least June, 2016.          Source: https://t.co/YFXgwl3BG9

As you gear up to celebrate, please prepare to enter into the most important battle for our freedom yet – one that depends not upon the military but upon civilian action to actively #resist, to speak out to #vote and to take back our country from foreign powers and puppet presidents. We, the nurses of this country, have pledged to do what is right for our patients, and to maintain a strict code of ethics. It’s now time to apply that to our country as the population to be cared for, to fight for, to know that our very values and fundamental structures are being subverted and to work against that subversion by all means possible. Please support the young people on their #RoadToChange, the #MarchForOurLives, and all efforts to use our #VoicesandVotes to remedy this situation.

Please. Ask yourself, what would Flo do?  Resist. It’s the only truly patriotic thing to do.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hill Day for Nurses 6/21/18 and the Need to Act to Restore Justice

On Thursday, June 7, 2018 the United States Department of Justice indicated it will no longer defend the Affordable Care Act’s protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. Department of Justice. Yes, you read that correctly. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary lists as it’s first entry for the definition of justice;

the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments :meting out justice: social justice.

It is unfathomable what this administration considers to be just, just action, or justice. But it is clear that justice is not for the many, only for the few who can pay the entry fee. This runs completely contrary to the four essential ethical principles which underlie nursing and medical practice – beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy and JUSTICE. Justice, in a civil society, requires that all people be treated equally under the law. Justice ensures that the weak are not steamrollered by the strong, and have access to important resources such as food, clean air and water, shelter, and reasonable medical care. Are we not a civilized society?

Apparently not, if this administration continues to destroy our environment, deny people essential dignity, and reap financial gain by preying upon the most vulnerable. It makes me want to both cry and vomit. #Cromit, I guess…

What can we as nurses do? Ask yourself, what would Flo do? Get involved! The American Nurses Association Hill Day is on June 21st this year. I know it’s coming up fast, but if you can possibly make it, it promises to be a phenomenal opportunity to speak directly to those who are charged with representing us in this government. You can learn more (including discounted hotel rooms and how to register) by reading the ANA’s Capital Beat post from June 12, below:

http://anacapitolbeat.org/2018/06/12/trump-administration-again-takes-aim-at-pre-existing-conditions/

And please, please, please, whatever you do, #Vote.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

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.

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Nurses Stand in Opposition to the AHCA

The image above comes from NBC news, capturing the “Writers Resist” rally on the steps of the New York City Public Library. What does it have to do with nursing? A lot. The American Nurses Association has been against the proposed “American Health Care Act” from the beginning. The new iteration passed by the House is perhaps even worse than the original version. This has sparked protest by diverse members of society, and broad-based opposition.

So says Gregory Craig, health policy analyst for the American Nurses Association. Rather than restate what he has written, I encourage you to visit his blog at the link below.

http://anacapitolbeat.org/2017/05/10/broad-based-opposition-to-the-american-health-care-act/

As nurses, we must stand united and #resist all efforts to take health care away from the most vulnerable citizens of our country, simply to provide tax breaks to the wealth. It violates every ethical principle that we embraced when we became nurses, and undermines the efforts of our profession to advocate for health and wellness for all.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Medicaid Expansion Fiscally Sound: Trump Policy – Not So Much…

The powerful image above is Dr. Pamela Cipriano, President of the American Nurses Association (ANA) addressing Congressional staffers. The ANA is the voice of nurses in this country, and advocates for better health and health care for all. The link below will take you to an article explaining the title of this post. Simply put, offering people primary care through Medicaid keeps them out of the Emergency Department, ultimately saving money all the way around. Trump has decided to undo his predecessor’s freeze on funding uncompensated care for states who refused to expand their Medicaid programs as offered by the Affordable Care Act. Not a good move.

States who refused federal funding to expand Medicaid did so out of political spite and fear of criticism by the extreme right wing of the Republican party. They did so not thinking or caring one bit about the people who live in their state. They did so knowing their actions were fiscally irresponsible and detrimental to the health of their constituents. Really? How much longer can we keep this farce going?

Thanks to the ANA for its continued advocacy on the part of those who are vulnerable, uninsured and clearly unrepresented. Inform yourself. Call your Congressional representatives. Be a part of the solution. #Resist !

http://anacapitolbeat.org/2017/05/02/new-study-highlights-positive-experiences-of-medicaid-enrollees/

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

APRNs Gain Prescriptive Authority in Florida

The image above was utilized in a blog post today concerning legislation about APRN prescriptive authority in Florida. The entire post can be found at http://floridapolitics.com/archives/204484-florida-nurses-association-praises-huge-victory-nurse-practitioners-physician-assistants, and it reads:

The Florida Nurses Association applauded lawmakers Friday for passing a bill allowing advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe controlled substances, a measure the group had put before the legislature for 22 years.

“It’s been a long battle, and well worth the fight,’’ said FNA Executive Director Willa Fuller in a news release. “The passage of this bill is a huge victory for nurses and patients.”

Sponsored by Sebring Republican Rep. Cary Pigman, a physician, and Miami Shores Democratic Rep. Daphne Campbell, a nurse, HB 423 would make Florida the final state in the union to allow ARNPs to prescribe controlled drugs, such as painkillers or ADHD medicine.

“The FNA has advocated for this prescribing legislation since 1993, when the organization convened a task force of advanced practice nurses and midwives,” the release states. “The first controlled substance prescribing bill was filed by state lawmakers in 1995. The legislation has been filed in 21 of the past 22 years the Florida Legislature has met. This year, lawmakers named the legislation after former FNA lobbyist Barbara Lumpkin.”

The Senate passed the bill Friday with a unanimous vote, kicking it back to the House with a pair of minor amendments by Republican Sen. Denise Grimsley, who is also a nurse. The chamber passed the bill 117-to-1, with Tampa Democratic Rep. Janet Cruz casting the lone vote against the bill.

HB 423 now heads to Gov. Rick Scott.

This legislation was sponsored by two legislators, one a physician and the other a nurse. It took twenty-two (22) years for the Florida Nurses Association to get this passed, but it has finally happened.

Supporters of Ken Yonker’s HB5400 in Michigan, take heart! Don’t give up! By persistently and clearly identifying the benefits of unrestricted APRN practice in reducing areas of primary care shortage, the legislature will come around. Did you contact your legislator yet? If not, please do so. It will take all of us (hopefully not 22 years…).

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,