Well, another week of health care in the news. Lots of discussions, arguments, heated debates and the occasional cordial conversation on what changes need to be made. From Obamacare to staffing ratios to violence against health care workers…. lots of news these days affecting healthcare. But what I notice is missing – where are the nurses in these conversations?? I see lots of people and analysts discussing how health care needs this change or that one, but where are the front line workers. Oh, yeah….they are actually doing the work. But if there was ever a time, it is now – nurses need to be the change.
And it starts with me. And you.
Sure we have work to do, patients to care for, charting to be done. But some of the work that needs to be done is speaking up.
So, here I am. It has to start somewhere. Someone has to start the conversation. So here I go.
We see so much wrong with health care. We live and work in it everyday. So why are we not a part of the conversation? The solution?
Sadly, most are looking for a way out because they don’t want to be a part of the madness. So many talented, smart nurses and providers just don’t want to play the game anymore. Some don’t even stay long – I hear countless stories of new grads leaving after barely two years. But if everyone leaves, who will be the change? Who will insure that when we are older and need care, that smart, talented, caring individuals will still be there at my most vulnerable time?
I wish I had more answers than questions. But what I do know is we have got to start being a part of the solution.
The current situation of over-regulation is taking more and more out of patient care and putting them in areas of “quality improvement”. No one cares if you actually get good care, just as long as you perceive you got good care and can give us “always” on those crazy patient satisfaction surveys. Why do we continue to allow this to happen? We know it is madness, yet we continue to let it happen.
As more are pulled from the bedside, staffing will continue to suffer. The need to protect the bottom line will certainly target nursing – the largest expense in most health care organizations. Again, the patients will suffer and nurses will continue to leave. But, again, we stay silent. Doing what we always do, caring for the patient the best way possible in unimaginable situations and conditions.
And lets not forget about our safety. This past year we have seen an alarming rise in health care violence. Nurses being stabbed, kidnapped, shot and killed. Yet where are the legislative people now? Where are our professional organizations demanding safer work environments and punishments for these criminals? Violence is not “part of the job”.
Where are our professional organizations? Did you know that the ANA hasn’t testified in front of Congress about health care reform since 2009? What?? The largest health care legislative actions and nothing since 2009. Shame on them. But really, shame on us. We have become apathetic and allowed the ANA to be hijacked by those that don’t represent us, the actual front line workers. It’s time to change that. It’s our organization, maybe it’s time to take it back.
So, as you can see, I feel pretty frustrated by the whole thing… but where to I start. Where do we all start?
I think we have taken the first step – started the conversation and identified some problems. Now, time for action!
- Find an issue you are passionate about – staffing? Violence against health care workers? Opioid crisis? Health care reform? Access to drug test options?
- Become educated on the issues. Know the facts and be able to speak intelligently about the issues. Know both sides.
- Connect with like minded people. If you feel or think this way – there must be others and there is power in numbers.
- Get involved in your local professional organization – it’s time to take them back, they have been hostage too long. Run for office.
- Start meeting influential people who can impact your topic and start to educate them. We are THE trusted profession – they will listen.
- Volunteer on boards or community groups that impact your issue or are affected by it. Work with them for change.
These are just a few ways, ever so small, but so impactful, that nurses can be the change.
We can not stand back silently and let others make decisions for us and our patients. The public trusts us, we can’t let them down.
Now that I have rambled on….what are your thoughts? Frustrations? Challenges? Successes? How can we work together? I want to hear from you – either leave a comment or email me at thenurseteacher (at) gmail.com.
Lets start being a part of the change.
Take care, be safe & wash your hands!