I Copied this article from th online version of a California newspaper. I thought it would be of interest to nurse entrepreneurs:
Evolution or Revolution?
Debora Jesse RN BSBA
From Florence Nightengale to Gabe Fokker, the nurse character played by Ben Stiller in the movie Meet the Parents. From starched white caps to “scrubs
”. The image of the nursing profession in the United States has undergone dramatic transformation.
The stereotype of the starched white “angel of mercy” is no more. Today’s registered nurse in the U.S. is likely to have a college degree, average age mid- to early forties, routinely working 12-hour shifts, chronically fatigued, a member of the “sandwich generation” caring for his or her own family while assuming caretaking duties for their elderly parents, and so dissatisfied with their employment situation that they are leaving the profession altogether.
What does this mean to the U.S. healthcare consumer – anyone seeking treatment in a hospital emergency room, having surgery (elective or emergency), undergoing treatment for chronic illness, having a baby, or recuperating from injury?
The well-documented shortage of nurses in the U.S.A. today means hospitalized patients will have to wait for pain relief, wait for assistance with toileting or turning over in bed, wait to have their bandages changed, to have their questions answered, their fears allayed. There is little or no time for patient teaching – one of the nursing profession’s
hallmarks of professionalism. Frustrating for professional nurses; dangerous for patients.
Nurses in California are taking bold steps to correct this situation. A dedicated group of professional registered nurses is in the process of forming the country’s first
Professional Practice Group for RNs. Tentatively known as California Nurses, Inc., the new business venture will be owned and operated by licensed professional registered nurses possessing expertise in a variety of specialties. With headquarters in California, the group will provide nurses to fill staff positions in hospitals primarily within the state. A travel division is planned, to provide hospitals outside of California with temporary staff nurses. All nurses will hold a valid RN license in the state(s) in which he/she practices. Long range plans for the company include establishing a home health division to provide in-home nursing care for patients.
Assisting the company in its start-up phase is the National Association of Independent Nurses (www.******************
), headquartered in Tempe, Arizona. According to L. Ward James, RN, Membership Director, NAIN has grown from 8 original members in 2001 to over 1800 members, all of whom are registered nurses who currently practice, or are transitioning to practice as independent contractors. The primary goal of the National Association of Independent Nurses, as stated in their quarterly publication ‘Nurses notes’ is to inform and educate registered nurses about the concept of practicing their profession as self-employed business owners or independent contractors. James, also the author of ‘A Pocket Guide to Independent Nursing’ asserts that the nursing profession will be more effective in recruiting the best and brightest students and retaining highly qualified RNs when nurses take control of their profession by being truly independent.
California is the first state to enact nurse to patient ratios, which took effect January 1, 2004. Now, California can claim another ‘first’ – birthplace of the first major step in the evolution of nursing.