A tribute to Virginia (Ginny) Ward Paulsen (1918-August 9, 1982)


Contributed by Rorry Zahourek

Ginny Paulsen was not a nurse by profession but by heart and dedication. She served as the Executive Director of the Colorado Nurses Association from 1961-1980. In that role she inspired many to become activists on numerous fronts (clinical and political). At that time in Colorado the nurse practitioner was born and clinical specialists programs were producing new and motivated practitioners. She supported a group of nurses at Denver General Hospital to organize and demand a job description and commensurate salary for Clinical Nurse Specialists. In the 1970’s Ginny supported a group of nurses to go into private practice by providing moral support, business advice and legal consultation. Later she helped the group writing a book that described the process of setting up one of the first primary nurse clinics in the country.

She was a realistic idealist. She believed in the goodness of humanity and that we as nurses and humans could forge new roles, advance the profession, health care and change the system as a whole.

She always had good advice regarding negotiating systems and was always available for consultation when we met obstacles. She was a fierce and intelligent nurse advocate who mentored many in expanding their scope of practice and securing the legislation needed to support those advances.  She developed and hired one of the first nurse lobbyist at the State capitol in the country. (See picture of Ginny with with the first nurse lobbyist, Sue Sawyer).

Ginny also started a major international educational conference (Chautauqua) to promote discussion of issues and foster activism. This conference continues today. She birthed the idea of having risk taking workshops. These fostered activism for expanding nurses’ roles, practice and changing systems. The result of one of those workshops was the formation of Nurses for Political Action Colorado. This group provided forums for candidates to present their views and discuss issues related to overall health care and nursing.

Her premature death was and is a loss. I’m sure she would be supporting this nurse activist group and would be pleased to see how many members it has that are committed to making changes for nursing and for all to have adequate health care.

Ginny on the left with Sue Sawyer (right)

An Open Letter on the vital importance of empathy in STEM


Nursing Activism Think Tank participant Rachel Walker just shared this information about a letter-writing campaign that many who follow this blog might want to see!  Here is her message:

UMASS professors Dr. Sarah Perry, Dr. Sandra Petersen and I have recently penned an open letter on the vital importance of empathy in STEM. Our letter is addressed to the task force currently writing the next 5-year Federal Strategic Plan for STEM education.

You can read our letter here

And if you wish, add your signature as well:

(And please note, this letter is an exercise in academic freedom. We are proposing our views, not an official position of the University.)

Marion Cronin, 1920 –


Inspiration for Activism

  • The heart of the documentary “Playing on Our Sentiments” the story of the Hale Nurses Union organized in 1954 in Massachusetts.

    Marion Cronin

  • Graduated from Lawrence Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in 1941
  • Began her career as a nurse at the Contagious Hospital, next door to the Hale
  • Active in the Massachusetts Nurses Association by 1950
  • Worked for a law that gave nurses the right to collective bargaining, and once that law passed, worked with other nurses at the Hale to form an MNA bargaining unit then elected to be their leader (chairperson).
  • At 98, continues to support the struggles of nurses everywhere for good contracts.

More information

Carolyn McCarthy (1944 – )


Inspiration for Activism

  • Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 4th district. In office Carolyn_McCarthy_2012_portraitJanuary 3, 1997 – January 3, 2015.
  • Tireless advocate for gun control
  • Pursued legislation benefiting the elderly, including hearing loss detection, prevention & treatment, pushing for affordable hearing devices for all.
  • Fought for special education and health services for children
  • Always stated in interviews: “I am a nurse and I look at the issues from a nursing perspective.

More information

See the recent policy statement on gun violence from the American Academy of Nursing

Stand with the ANA


Today, within hours of the US House of Representative acting against the health and well-being of all Americans, the American Nurses Association issued a strong statement opposing this action. While many nurses do not belong to the ANA, it is an important organization with a strong voice for nursing. Here is the press release:

For Immediate Release
May 4, 2017
Contact: Veronica Byrd
301-628-5057
veronica.byrd@ana.org

David L. Allen
301-628-5391
david.allen@ana.org

American Nurses Association Disappointed with the

Passage of the American Health Care Act  

 

SILVER SPRING, MD – The American Nurses Association (ANA) strongly opposed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and is deeply disappointed with the passage of this legislation by the United States House of Representatives.

ANA, which represents the interests of more than 3.6 million registered nurses, has expressed serious concerns throughout negotiations about the critical impact the AHCA would have on the 24 million people who stand to lose insurance coverage if the bill becomes law.

“Over the past several weeks, nurses from across the country expressed their strong disapproval of this bill which would negatively impact the health of the nation,” said ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “Today, Congress not only ignored the voice of the nation’s most honest and ethical profession and largest group of health care professionals, it also ignored the almost 15 million people in the United States with pre-existing conditions who will now have no protection from insurer discrimination.”

As it is currently written, the AHCA would cut Medicaid funding by $880 billion over 10 years, dramatically increase premiums on seniors, restrict millions of women from access to health care, weaken the sustainability of Medicare, and repeal income-based subsidies that have made it possible for millions of families to buy health insurance. In addition, states would have the option to waive essential health benefit protections that prevent insurance companies from charging individuals with pre-existing conditions significantly more for coverage. Even worse, insurers could decline coverage for substance abuse treatment, maternity care, and preventive services. Late efforts to stabilize the bill’s risk pools for more than 15 million people with pre-existing conditions were wholly inadequate and will leave the nation’s sickest vulnerable.

As this legislation moves to the United States Senate, ANA urges the Senate to allow for opportunities for thoughtful, public feedback in the face of reforms that would have such a far-reaching and personal impact across the nation.

ANA asks the Senate to oppose AHCA in its current form, and stands ready to work with Senators to protect and improve health care access, quality and affordability for all.

# # #

The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation’s 3.6 million registered nurses. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit www.nursingworld.org.

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American Nurses Association (ANA), 8515 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910 United States