I have been on the lecture circuit. My topic is Empowering the Patient: How to Navigate the Health Care System. Two presentations down and two to go with another in the negotiating stage.
I’m fine-tuning the presentation based on the feedback I have received from my audience each time I give the talk. Sana Goldberg’s recently released book: How to be a Patient: The Essential Guide to Navigating the World of Modern Medicine has added an extra layer of emphasis on the importance of nurses’ influence in the health care system.
I believe nurses are best poised to change the future of healthcare.
Today, registered nurses spend more time physically present with patients than any other healthcare professional, and as a consequence we see and hear a lot. We maintain a vantage point markedly different from that of the MD, the scholar, the journalist, and the policy maker. We are intimately familiar with the complexity and multiplicity of the patient experience, as well as the systems in health care that fail to acknowledge it. We witness the system’s barriers regularly, and in turn we come up with creative solutions to side step its most vexing realities.
(Sana Goldberg, How to be a Patient: The Essential Guide to Navigating the World of Modern Medicine, page XXIV)
Doesn’t that last sentence remind you of Teresa Brown’s New York Times Op Ed essay that I posted just last week? Side stepping vexing realities is another way of describing the “workarounds” that Brown described.
I’m using another book written by a nurse for my talk. Finish Strong: Putting Your Priorities First at Life’s End by Barbara Coombs Lee, who besides being a nurse is a lawyer and President of Compassion and Choices.
Both books are well written and easy to read and full of great information that older readers will find helpful. And, of course, I am pleased that they are written from a nursing perspective.
I have so many thoughts on such things as “end of life signatures,” the “two minute consultations” given by doctors today, and even accountability, but what about storms and power outages and lack of instant generator responses where LVAD patients could have a stroke in the interim?
Nursing is not easy, nor is it always seen for the art and skill it involves. Then there are the travel nurses who sit on their cellphones and roll their eyes when desperate, hard working nurses call for them.
Thank you for your comments. I agree that nurses are not given the recognition for being the expert care givers that they are. Few realize the role nurses play in safeguarding the patients in our understaffed health care system.