Nurses Gain the Attention They Deserve

Since the beginning of the Pandemic, the visibility of nurses continues to increase. It is unfortunate that it took the Covid-19 virus to open a door allowing the general public to witness what nurses actually do: they save the lives of their patients as they risk their own, jeopardizing the health and lives of their families as well. 

For years, I have believed we nurses don’t get the attention we deserve. We don’t speak out about what we do on a daily basis that makes a difference and the news media tends to ignore nurses, placing more attention on physicians. 

Well, so much has changed as evidenced recently by the following:

  1.  A new show on NBC called the Nurses premiered on Monday, December 7th. I have only watched the first episode so far but if you suspend belief that a group of nurses can enter a hospital and begin to give care immediately, you will see capable, skilled nurses who work alongside physicians, not as the proverbial handmaidens, but as equal professionals. I intend to follow this show. 
  • There have been many firsthand stories in the newspapers written by nurses on the front lines. I have covered some on these in this Blog. Most recently the Washington Post, What seven ICU nurses want you to know about the battle against covid-19, December 12, 2020, spotlighted the ICU nurses caring for the sickest COVID-19 patients. I have received comments from my friends that the stories are poignant. 
Continue reading “Nurses Gain the Attention They Deserve”

Ramblings on Expanding Nursing Practice

 

 

I asked Martha Barry who worked with me at the Erie Family Health Centers in the early 80s, to remind me if the Certified Nurse Midwives delivered babies.

 Here’s what she said:

The model for the Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) when I arrived was outpatient care only. The CNM did all of the New OBs and sorted out the high-risk patients and cared for the other patients throughout their pregnancies, post-partum and follow-up gyn care. Prenatal care was intense case management. (We took) a lot of care and time to be sure no one fell through the cracks and got “lost to follow up.” Luckily, we could utilize the community health RNs to help find patients who did not show up for a visit. At the beginning, Medicaid was not widely available to all low-income pregnant women and especially not to non-citizens. The patients would be on a payment plan and would need to pay by “7-months” and it was a deal that included their prenatal, postnatal and delivery costs. I remember patients bringing their money stuffed in their bras to pay up at that 7-month mark. Deliveries were at Ravenswood Hospital. I wish I could remember the cost. The consulting OB physician would come to Erie for a few hours each week.

I also remember a few patients who worked at the live poultry plant and they said that although they had no health insurance, the boss would pay their delivery fees! 

I was preparing for my talk to the first class of AdvancingPractice, a one-year fellowship to develop quality care and nursing leadership at the clinic I had worked in over 30 years ago and written about in my book: Stories from the Tenth-Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers.

I read Martha’s words to the group of eight APRN Fellows especially showing the generosity of the poultry plant employer. Then I told the Pigeon Lady story from my book that ends with a neighborhood funeral home director footing the bill for the wake and burial of one of our patients. He then turned around and donated that amount back to the clinic. (It’s complicated) I wanted to stress the interrelatedness of the surrounding community on the health care clinic. 

Part of my presentation was to discuss the historical context of the advancement of nurse practitioners and nurse midwives (collectively labeled Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, APRN).

One of the handouts for the class (Expanding Access to Primary Care: The Role of Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Certified Nurse Midwives in the Health Center Workforce, National Association of Community Health Centers, September 2013) plunged me back to the time I and other new APRNs in the Chicago area were struggling to justify our right to practice to the full extent of our training.

How much had I forgotten—maybe wanted to forget. For example, back in 1957 the American Nurses Association developed a definition of nursing that would retard the advancement of nursing practice for decades: nurses were neither to diagnose nor prescribe. And some groups of nurses called us “little doctors” and didn’t support developing educational programs in nursing colleges.  

I hope the new Fellows I spoke to learned from my presentation something about the historical context of the role, the significance of the role in the community setting and the potential of the APRN career choice. 

I close with a quote from the NACHC fact sheet:

An expanded role for nursing is an idea deeply rooted in nursing’s past and from it, much can be learned for today. Indeed, nurses should take this historical opportunity to think creatively about recycling elements of past practice for today’s unique context—perhaps initiating state-of-the-art nurse-run clinics in rural and inner city areas; reaching others by telenursing; and collaborating with designers in technology firms to create Apps and other high tech solutions to bridge gaps that exist in healthcare today. To do so, they must first read and understand the impact of the historical antecedents, cornerstone documents, and legislative acts that contribute to the nursing profession’s rich history. 

 

Expanding Access to Primary Care: The Role of Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Certified Nurse Midwives in the Health Center Workforce, National Association of Community Health Centers, September 2013, Page 9


 

 

More on Nurses Week

I am reblogging this post from Lippincott Solutions. My non-nursing followers can read about the history of Nurses Week and the writers among us will be happy to see that Lippincott is asking for “Inspired Nursing Stories” for their annual writing contest.
Calling the Shots: Nursing News and Notes

CELEBRATE NATIONAL NURSES WEEK 2017

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Mind, Body, and Spirit: celebrating nurses who lead the charge for health and wellness.

Are you ready for National Nurses Week 2017?

Honoring nurses for your hard work and dedication throughout the year, the American Nurses Association (ANA) will be celebrating its annual National Nurses Week from May 6-12, 2017.

ANA’s National Nurses Week 2017 theme — “Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit” — celebrates nurses who lead the charge for health and wellness in their practice and profession. ANA has designated 2017 as the “Year of the Healthy Nurse.”

HISTORY OF NURSES WEEK

The ANA supports and encourages National Nurses Week recognition programs through the state and district nurses associations, other specialty nursing organizations, educational facilities, and independent health care companies and institutions.

Each of ANA’s state and territorial nurses associations promote the nursing profession at the state and regional levels. Each conducts celebrations on these dates to recognize the contributions that nurses and nursing make to the community.

National Nurses Week runs each year from May 6 to 12, ending on Florence Nightingale’s birthday. These permanent dates enhance planning and position National Nurses Week as an established recognition event. As of 1998, May 8 was designated as National Student Nurses Day, to be celebrated annually. And as of 2003, National School Nurse Day is celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurses Week each year.

Nightingale, who lived from 1820-1910, was known as the founder of professional nursing, especially due to her pioneering work during the Crimean War. Due to her habit of making rounds at night, Nightingale became known as “The Lady with the Lamp.” National Nurses Week was first observed in 1954, the 100th anniversary of her mission to Crimea.

CELEBRATION PLANS

During National Nurses Week, celebrations and receptions will be held in hospitals and other healthcare facilities across the country.

ANA’s National Nurses Week Toolkit is a useful resource that provides you with additional ways to recognize nurses for their professional skills and abilities. For example, show your gratitude with a branded “Thank You Card.” Give every nurse a certificate of appreciation or hang display banners throughout the office. The National Nurses Week toolkit has plenty of ideas to plan a great celebration.

Nurses are encouraged to sign up for ANA’s free webinar, “A Nurse’s Guide to Preventing Compassion Fatigue, Moral Distress, and Burnout” on May 10 at 1:00 EST. During this one hour exclusive live event, Joyce A. Batcheller, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, will discuss the latest research in the field and provide you with tools and strategies to infuse meaning, joy, and restoration into your practice and life. Batcheller is senior vice president and CNO of the Seton Healthcare Family, the largest health care system in Central Texas.

After attending, nurses will be able to:

  • Reduce the physical and emotional consequences of morally complex situations.
  • Build confidence in confronting morally complex situations to reduce moral distress and burnout.
  • Harness expert tips and strategies to build resilient teams.
  • Use current research to prevent and combat compassion fatigue.
  • Apply tools and strategies to recognize and overcome compassion fatigue.

PAYING IT FORWARD 

Once again this year, we are holding our annual ‘Inspired Nursing Stories’ writing contest.  What are your most memorable moments in nursing?  Have you had any poignant moments with patients and their families?  A mentor or preceptor that helped shape you into the nurse you are today?  Or was it a family member that helped you realize your calling to nursing at a young age?

Nurses, we want YOUR story!  The winning entry will receive a FitBit Alta, and the 1st and 2nd runners-up will receive gift cards. All of the top 12 stories will be featured in our 2018 Inspired Nurses: The Heroes of Healthcare glossy print calendars.

Click HERE to submit and help to ‘pay it forward’ by allowing other nurses to share in what keeps your nursing engine firing! You can also browse through some of our best stories from previous years to get your own ‘dose’ of nursing inspiration.

How are you planning to celebrate National Nurses Week? For all the official details from ANA, go to www.nursingworld.org/NationalNursesWeek.

Thanks SO much for all that you do, and best wishes for a terrific National Nurses Week!