For a number of years, nurses have marched on DC to call for changes in nursing and healthcare that the conditions under which nurses care for patients. This year the specific issue is safe nurse:patient ratios, calling for passage of bills that are already in both the House and the Senate that set national standards for nurse:patient ratios. This event promises to be an invigorating event with inspiring speakers and the opportunity to be part of a strong, non-partisan event focusing on issues of great concern for all nurses. The march also coincides with the following week designated as “nurses week” – a U.S. tradition highlighting tokenism at its best (full disclosure – my personal opinion!). The march has the potential to energize nurses across the country to bring the activism home, and during nurses week take local action calling for safe ratios at home – in place of roses!
The current feature on the AJN blog “Off the Charts” is a post titled “The Limitations of Rating Nursing Care by Customer Surveys.” Since I have, for many long years, decried the practice of basing the evaluation of nursing care on patient satisfaction surveys, I jumped at the opportunity to read this post! Of course we need and want to know how patients perceive the care we provide, but how we obtain this information, and what we do with this, is a key factor. Since this approach derives fundamentally from the corporate business model, and is now practiced in the context of this model, the substance, use and outcomes of this practice are deeply flawed when examined from a NurseManifest perspective. The example the author, Juliana Paradisi gives as an example of her best safe and compassionate nursing care involves a woman in extreme distress who “fired” her as her nurse – a situation in which she could not break through the barriers inherent in the patient’s distress, but provided a level of care that was exemplary.
Even though the overarching business model that governs healthcare now is probably not going to go away soon (Ha!) – we can raise awareness of the limitations that this imposes on our practice, select specific actions to take to place these practices into context, and work to achieve whatever changes we can make. We can start with addressing the question: “What is best nursing care” from the perspective of the values in the Nursing Manifesto. There is no single answer to this question – but there are insights to be gained by thinking, talking and writing the ideas that arise from it. Once we have expressed our ideas, we can examine new and better ways to document our care, and continue to address the limitations of the existing practices that fail to document and support our best practices.
We welcome your ideas here – and stories about the times you provided what you think is the best nursing care!
Sigma Theta Tau has now published the 2nd Edition of the book “The Power of Ten,” a book of essays by nursing leaders that address ten top issues for nurses to rally around for the next few years. These issues were identified prior to the results of the 2016 election, and now they are issues of increasing importance! The essays provide ideas and inspiration for actions to strengthen nursing’s focus and activism. The issues are:
- Educational Reform
- Academic Progression
- Interprofessional collaboration
- Systems thinking
- Voice of Nursing
- Global Stewardship
- Practice authority
- Delivery of care
- Professional handoff
This is an important resource for all nurses who are determined to act on the fundamental values of nursing. The essays are a follow-up to the 2012 “Future of Nursing” report; the issues dovetail with the four recommendations of the report, and sine a light on the actions that nurses can take now to bring a culture of health to the center in shaping the future of nursing and healthcare. The essays are short and to the point, and there are inspirational quotes from nursing leaders throughout that point the way forward.
Check it out! The book is available in several different formats directly from Sigma Theta Tau or from Amazon. All proceeds from the book are being donated in equal parts to the American Red Cross nursing programs and the American Nurses Foundation.
As the efforts to roll back the U.S. Affordable Care Act has progressed, what has emerged even further is the resistance from “we the people” – resistance that has, in no uncertain terms, changed the conversation. So even though we hear, every day, another jaw-dropping bit of news that threatens democracy world-wide, it is vitally important that we shift our gaze and energy to continuing whatever actions we can do to sustain our public voices. As Bernie Sanders stated in a recent interview with The Guardian –
“This is what they [the people] should do,” he says, pumping out the Bern. “They should take a deep reflection about the history of this country, understand that absolutely these are very difficult and frightening times. But also understand that in moments of crisis, what has happened, time and time again, is that people have stood up and fought back. So despair is absolutely not an option.”” (source)
Our “Declaration of Solidarity and Resistance” continues to draw supporters – not only from nurses but from many others who join us in declaring the values that motivate our actions – actions that are not only important as acts of resistance to the current political trends to damage health and well-being, but actions to affirmatively promote and protect health and well-being for those we serve. Our Declaration informs our deep reflection – reflection on the historical stand that nurses have taken for decades, and reflection on the political courage to step forward to act – to resist, and to build a future based on these values!
We welcome your stories, photos, videos – anything that you can share that shows what you are doing! If you are sending a postcard to the White House on March 15th, send us a photo of your card! If you are attending a rally, send us a photo or a video! Write about your reflections, and ways that you are shifting away from despair! We want to hear from YOU!
This week, members of the Nurse Manifest Team gathered together by the warmth of our computer screens for engaging video conference. We took the time to welcome some new members and talk about the future of the movement. I have to say for me, being with like minded #NurseResisters was so energizing (even though I have been suffering through a bout of the flu this week!) and also very comforting.
It’s important for #NurseResisters to remember we are not alone and to gather those around us during these challenging times: when change seems to be happening at a rapid pace, when social media pages are filled with what resisters might find to be concerning or bad governmental news, when there are 10 things you would like to take action on, but you can’t be on the phone all day….it can become easy to become discouraged, overwhelmed, or burned out. This is where truly being with a like minded community can lift your spirits and buoy your endurance.
And endurance is what we will need. I know right now it sometimes feel like a sprint…get out there and get things done now, get to this march, make your signs, write your emails and postcards, get on the phone….because the administration has been creating changes at a rapid pace, the media and social media have been bumping up our energy, and we feel drawn to create change now.
The thing is, this is not a sprint and it’s not a solo race…it’s more like a team based marathon or ultra-marathon, and it is going to take teams of like minded community members to both participate in and complete the race.
We need to carry lights, march together through the dark night with our nightingale lamps, and strive toward unity. There is no clear finish line, and no medals for winners, second, and third place. There is a beautiful planet and population of people that need caring for and this endurance test is in part about not giving up that vision of a caring, compassionate, kind, peaceful, unified, and spirit filled world.
I suggest other #NurseResisters start gathering with your communities in real life or as we did last week, in real time via video or phone conferencing. Set aside thoughtful, meaningful time to be together, to discuss future actions, and also to just support one another, to laugh together, to share your stories. Communities can rejuvenate and recharge us, and they are a must for folks who plan to run the long race.
I also did want to share that part of our discussion last week focused on the use of humor, satire, parody, art, and music to support and gather people together. Saturday Night live is becoming a great example of the power of humor, parody, and satire to help us lighten our load, to help us rejuvenate, to connect us across time and space.
While there are many older political songs we can use (Carol King just re-released One Small Voice with free download!: https://soundcloud.com/user-844282824/one-small-voice), it remains imperative that we also create new art and new music that reflects our current siutation here, now in 2017. Until then, let’s be strong together:
“One small voice speaking out in honesty
Silenced, but not for long
One small voice speaking with the values
we were taught as children
Tell the truth
You can change the world
But you’d better be strong”
(Carole King/ copyright Rockingdale Records).