Powerful Profession

Did you see the NYT opinions article, The Power of Nursing?

It’s a busy time (for all nurses, I’m sure), and I didn’t really know how to relate this to some brilliant idea, but thought it was important to share anyway. Makes me proud of the work nurses do. Reminds me of the variety in our work.

I’m a diabetes educator, so I always think about how things can be applied to people with diabetes. I am planning to share this article with my students in the Master of Science in Diabetes Education and Management program at Teachers College Columbia University. I look forward to exchanging ideas about how we could develop similar programs that help people with diabetes.

What else could nurses do along these lines? What other populations could we help?

The Future of Nursing revisited

The editorial printed in this quarter’s Journal of Nursing Scholarship takes a look at where we are with nursing one year (and change) after the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report. Susan Gennaro discusses changes that are being made toward the four keyNurse Symbol areas called for in the “landmark report”:

  • ensuring that nurses are able to practice to the full extent of their education and experience
  • removing educational barriers
  • ensuring that nurses practice collaboratively as full partners in the healthcare system
  • establishing infrastructure to ensure that data about the workforce is available to make decisions upon

Are these changes happening where you are? What are your observations, activities, thoughts on these changes and any progress or lack of progress you’ve experienced? What about the NurseManifest project – how does it fit with these proposed changes?

Genarro, S. (2012). The future of nursing: Accomplishments a year after the landmark report. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 44(1), 1.

Who can be called “Doctor”?

I just read an article regarding nurses calling themselves “doctor.” It appears that physicians are upset about the whole DNP situation, and are about to put up a fight. After reading the article I had more questions and frustrations than ever! I think this directly relates to the (awesome) discussion that was started two posts ago, regarding the Future of Nursing report by the IOM.

My first question: why are physicians more involved in the fate of nursing than nurses? I have tried not to let this get under my skin, but now it’s starting to itch!!

My second question: were these challenges anticipated when the powers that be decided to create the DNP and then make it mandatory as of 2015?

My third question: why have we still not found a solution to the entry-level-of-practice-for-nurses question?

Unfortunately I was left with far more questions than ideas after reading an article by a Chicago law firm for medical malfeasance, or the lawsuit info about Xarelto and what troubles can appear if any kind of maplractice taking place, but one thing I thought of is, couldn’t physicians be called “physicians” and nurse practitioners be called “nurse practitioners” and PAs be called “physician assistants,” etc.? If someone introduces themself as “Dr. So and So” that would reflect their educational background/degree, and then they would immediately clarify their role. I, for one, prefer to be called “Jane” by my patients, but I always let them know that I am a nurse and certified diabetes educator. I’m not sure what outcome(s) we’ll see from this physician-led legislation, regarding who can be called “Doctor,” but it seems that if someone earned a doctorate and wants to be called that, it’s their prerogative. There are a lot more doctors out there than just physicians, after all.


Nurses striking: is it effective?

As many of you have likely heard, the nurses employed by Sutter Health in Northern California staged a strike on Thursday September 22, 2011 in protest over an increase in benefits costs and decreases to sick and vacation leave. ofhttp://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/09/23/general-us-calif-nurses-strike_8696370.html

While the non-profit Sutter Health has real profits in the near billion dollar range, we are left wondering why it is the nurses’ benefits are being cut even as the heads of the organization walk home with millions of dollars of “bonuses” each year.


I think the nurses are in some respects justified in taking this stance and going on strike; they are working together to stand in solidarity (though up to 40% of the nurses at the various hospitals crossed the picket lines and reported to work). On the other hand, I feel that the strike does not create an atmosphere for discussion and dialogue that might be meaningful. This action in and of itself seems unlikely to create a path for communication between administrators, decision makers, and the nurses. The union itself also prevents much of this direct communication and may prevent the working nurses from communicating their concerns outside of the union’s presence.The strike does create some obstacles and safety concerns for patients, administrators, nurses crossing the strike line, and the replacement nurses.

I have thought a mass exodus of the nurses, or many immediate resignations, would be more effective, though highly unlikely to happen for obvious financial reasons. For each nurse who quit, Sutter would lose at least $60, 000 in training a new nurse to replace them. These expenses could add up very quickly if a good chunk of the nurses walked away from their positions. Sutter may have problems with hiring new nurses in relation to the higher costs of benefits, the reduction in vacation pay, and the elimination of paid sick leave. Paid sick leave can help to stop the spread of illnesses like the flu (have we already forgotten H1N1?), but perhaps I am digressing a bit here.

It would be interesting to poll the public and get their perception of striking nurses, professionalism, empowerment, and the image of nurses. From the current state of the media coverage, it is difficult to tell where the public stands on this.

We do know that the nurses have now been locked out until Tuesday, as at least two of the hospitals have a minimum contract of five days for their temporary staff contracts. These contracts are likely very expensive and in no way are saving Sutter any money, which was the reason given for changes in the benefits. http://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/quality-of-life/nurses-who-went-strike-told-not-come/

The issue of unions, strikes and walk-outs is prime for nursing researchers to continue to explore: what are the outcomes of strikes, do the nurses feel or experience a sense of empowerment through the process, what is the public’s perception of nurses’ unions and strikes, and so on.