Information about the Million Nurse March
Board of Directors
Michele Jansen RN Florida
Helen Cook RN Michigan
Cheryl Worden LPN Arkansas
Ron Phelps RN BSN Virginia
The MNM came into being as a discussion on a nursing website. That discussion than became a growing idea. Eventually that idea became an organization. We are now a growing organization of nurses from varied and diverse backgrounds and educations. It is the thought of this organization that massive changes in nursing and in how healthcare is delivered must be made. It is up to nurses to prompt those changes. Nurses are the true patient advocates, and in order to do so we must advocate for ourselves. To do this effectively the thought is to bring all nurses together. Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Certified Nurse Assistants. Each one of us makes up the important bedside team, and without us healthcare would not exist. We believe that each component of the bedside team have practice acts and certification limits that must be followed to enhance appropriate patient care, and that it is inappropriate for administrators that are not licensed bedside caregivers to put any of us into positions that demand otherwise.
It is the vision of the Million Nurse March that the diverse voices within the field need to come together under one banner, with common ground. The MNM is the vehicle in which that can occur. We invite all organizations that have nurses within their membership to pool resources together to make this vision a reality.
We invite all others that are concerned about patient care and the state of healthcare to join with us. Other healthcare workers, advocacy groups, physicians, educators and public citizens. All who are concerned and feel that they can endorse and support the tenets of this organization are welcome to participate. We offer the caveat that our platform is a nursing advocacy platform that will also enhance patient care and other individual agendas cannot come in front of that.
Our platform is for federal legislation on these specific issues
1. Nationwide staff to patient ratios based on patient acuity; in every area that nursing care is provided. Hospitals, nursing homes, clinics etc...
2. National legislation that prohibits the use of mandatory overtime that will protect all bedside caregivers.
3. National legislation that will put enforceable and strong whistleblower protections into place for all healthcare workers.
4. National legislation that will prohibit the performance of skilled nursing functions by unlicensed staff.
5. Restrictions on unsafe floating practices.
6. Appropriate monetary compensation for skills and science based knowledge.
Without which patient care suffers.
This platform addresses the working conditions that are poorly impacting all nursing care across the country. It is the working conditions that have prompted the mass exodus of nurses from the bedside. This platform addresses retention issues.
The other side of the platform must address recruitment issues. As a profession we must bury the negativity that has run rampant through our ranks. Encourage young persons to pursue entry level nursing programs, support increased funding for those that pursue nursing programs as well as increased funding and other support programs that will allow those that wish to pursue the higher education opportunities of the field.
We need to value, respect and celebrate those that work strictly at the bedside. We need to encourage the healthcare industry to acknowledge that bedside nursing care is the bedrock on which healthcare rests, on which good patients outcomes are impossible without. We need to educate the public regarding what nurses do and how we affect the outcomes of every patient we come in contact with. We also have to acknowledge and effectively deal with the dynamics that encourage and perpetuate the mentality of "eating our young" be that the new graduate, or the experienced nurse that is new to a different field of practice. We must quit setting fires in our own house.
The MNM has set aside two days in which to address our issues to our national legislators. May 10, 2002 for meeting with legislators that are willing to sit down and listen to our concerns, and May 11, 2002 for a March and rally to protest the treatment of nurses by the healthcare industry, highlighting how that treatment has directly impacted and exacerbated the nursing shortage. This time will also be used to educate the public and media as to what nurses do day after day, how what we do has a direct effect on patient care outcomes and to celebrate our profession for the joys it can give us as well as the care and compassion it can give others.
Please join us in this worthwhile endeavor. Working together we will have a tremendous impact on our lives and the care of our patients.