This Is An Outrage

  1. I am very passionate about my chosen profession. I am very proud of what I do and what I have done over my nursing career. I perform work that has real meaning to people's lives. I am very proud of that fact and would not consider doing anything else.

    It is an OUTRAGE that the laws and regulations in our country allow corporations, and the federal government itself, to FORCE nurses to accept things that are not good for the healthcare system, the patients receiving and in need of care, and the nurses themselves, or FORCE nurses to leave the profession.

    It is an OUTRAGE that our professional nursing association that claims to represent the 2.7 million nurses has allowed conditions to become what they are today.

    It is an OUTRAGE that we as nurses who make up the 2.7 million nurses in America have also allowed this to happen to us.

    It is an OUTRAGE that I am unaware of NO initiative currently underway that has the potential to turn things around for nursing in this country in the short term.

    Why are we not all angry and up-in-arms about what is happening to nurses and healthcare all over the place? Why have we not rallied and gotten something going? Why is the ANA's mailbox and email box not full of messages from nurses demanding action? Why is the ANA's telephone not ringing off the hook with angry nurses calling to demand meaningful action?
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   NurseAmy
    Amen to all that! I also am outraged and want to know why nurses are so complacent. I think it is because people are basically sheep. I mean they just go along with whatever is handed out, not too many question authority.
    I try my best to rouse other nurses I work with to try to at least get informed, but they don't really seem to care. I am at a loss as to how to motivate others in my chosen profession, if it even is a profession anymore.
    Thanks for your post. I needed to hear that I am not the only one outraged by what is happening to nursing and healthcare in our country.
  4. by   webbiedebbie
    Unfortunately, I live in a city with only one hospital. They can get away with anything they want. I don't have a choice. I can lose my job and they would just fill it or not.

    Also, I have found that most hospitals cater to the physicians. They don't want to make them mad. So, we have to put up with the crap the hospitals give us.

    Wish it were easier. I can stand behind my fellow nurses, but that is all I can do for now. It is a SHAME this is happening in our profession.

    If we had the answers...we wouldn't be going through this.

    May God help us all!
  5. by   jnette
    Originally posted by NurseAmy
    Amen to all that! I also am outraged and want to know why nurses are so complacent. I think it is because people are basically sheep. I mean they just go along with whatever is handed out, not too many question authority.
    I try my best to rouse other nurses I work with to try to at least get informed, but they don't really seem to care. I am at a loss as to how to motivate others in my chosen profession, if it even is a profession anymore.
    Thanks for your post. I needed to hear that I am not the only one outraged by what is happening to nursing and healthcare in our country.
    Amy.. you read the words off my lips. Thank you .. now I don't have to write the same response. You said EXACTLY what I intended to.
  6. by   -jt
    <Why is the ANA's mailbox and email box not full of messages from nurses demanding action? Why is the ANA's telephone not ringing off the hook with angry nurses calling to demand meaningful action?>

    I dont know where you have been Ainz, but it was - some time ago. And the ANA heard the mesasge loud and clear, and we have been steering it in the direction it needs to go since then. The majority of the ANA membership is made up of working staff nurses. There are working staff RNs on the ANA Board of Directors too. Over the last 2 years or so, several important legislations that would correct the workplace environment for staff nurses and the causes that are driving us away from the bedside have been written by ANA nurses, introduced into Congress and are being strongly lobbied for by the ANA as they go thru the process of becoming national law. However, they are being fought against just as strongly by the AHA, AMA, and other organizations. We should all be outraged by that & fight back against them, instead of in-fighting amongst ourselves, or job-hopping looking for a nicer employer, or burying our head in the sand.

    Anyway, a restructuring of the ANA has been in the works for some time and was just passed thru a vote of the members last month in DC. See:

    http://nursingworld.org/pressrel/2003/pr0630.htm
  7. by   NicuNsg
    -jt, I agree.....
    Maybe part of the solution lies with the people that have been voted into public office. The one's that do not seem to put children, the elderly, low-income to middle-class problems in the light. I know other states have had problems, but right now Florida has had to go into special sessions for this whole medical malpractice disput. Oh..let's not forget the sweet promise our president and FL gov. has made, The Nurse Reinvestment Act, great idea. Problem is no one can seem to cash the checks so to speak (never funded). But it was a great idea during election time. I do know for a fact that FNA and the ANA have been all over the gov't to get that problem addressed. It is those nice little special interest groups with all the cash that make things difficult. We need a nurse in the WhiteHouse folks, what do ya think? ((((Sounds great doesn't it)))))
  8. by   debralynn
    Like I said in another thread, maybe we need a Million Nurse March on Washington! At least we would then make all the national news stations!
  9. by   ainz
    -jt

    I have begun to look at the ANA website daily. I have read and read and read the information posted on the site. I think the structure of the organization is there. I think contacts have been made and relationships established. I think lots of work has been done. The ANA has issued statements regarding nearly every issue I can think of that the profession of nursing faces today.

    However, from my perspective and where I sit, there are two key elements missing. One, it is very difficult to pinpoint concrete results, that can be tied back to the ANA, regarding the issues that are driving nurses out of the profession. As the organization that represents the profession, it is my opinion that effective leadership that can bring nurses together and rally support at a grassroots level just has not happened. For whatever reason (and I am sure there are many) the ANA has not been able to successfully get things done for the profession of nursing. Again, in my opinion, one major reason for this is a lack of membership in, and support of, the ANA by nurses out in practice. I believe less than 10% of nurses today are members.

    Which brings me to the second key element. In my 18 years as a nurse I cannot recall one single time that I have been contacted by the ANA to join. Where is the initiative by the ANA to reach out to nurses and increase membership? Why isn't the ANA reaching out and undertaking an aggressive membership drive? It is expensive to be a member and the "average nurse" receives very little from the ANA in terms of tangible benefits of membership. I must retract my earlier statement saying I can't recall being contacted by the ANA for membership. I was contacted once after I did not renew my membership in my CMA. No one asked me why I did not renew, just reminded my that my membership had lapsed.

    If membership in the ANA increased, perhaps the dues could be lowered thereby encouraging more nurses to join. If we had strong membership then the ANA would truly represent nursing and perhaps have more funds to do more things with. I am just very surprised that I have not been contacted and asked to join.

    But, let us look at results. In some areas of the country and some organizations (and growing at an alarming rate) nurses' are literally in crisis with their jobs and working conditions. Nurses' are having to choose between horrible working conditions or finding other work. Corporations and hospital administrations are imposing degrading, dangerous, and insulting conditions on nurses. In the end, the patients are suffering, nurses are leaving their jobs, and the corporations and high paid executives are enjoying record profits. The American Nurses Association, the proclaimed representation for nurses in America, has been completely ineffective in doing anything to prevent this from occurring and has been completely ineffective (to date) to stop what is going on now.

    I have read "Nursing's Agenda for the Future." It is well written in professional, scholarly language. I have read, in detail, a report in the Nursing Staffing Summit held in May/June of 2000 where staffing was linked to patient outcomes. Problems were identified, strategies were formulated and written. One nurse researcher stated that they had been studying nurse staffing in nursing homes for years but little has been done to change it.

    All of this is my point. Much has been studied, much has been written, much has been learned, many strategies have been formulated . . . but little has been done to change anything. No concrete results. And several of these studies that have valuable information have to be purchased in order to read them!! Why isn't the ANA plastering these results all over the media.

    Last point. The old saying holds true---"He who has the gold makes the rules." In the end, the taxpayers decide where our tax dollars go, where is the grassroots initiative aimed toward the general public. The decision makers in the hospital corporations understand and will listen when you show them how something will make them money, save the money, but especially if you can demonstrate how they can do both. I believe nursing care does both but can't find the studies to back that up, unless maybe you buy a copy from the ANA. If the ANA has this information, why are they not using it and targeting CEOs of these hospital chains that are making life so miserable for nurses?
  10. by   angelbear
    I dont know any answers but I too am frustrated with the state of nursing today. I just emailed a show idea to oprah.com asking for a show addressing the world wide nursing shortage from the perspective of the real bedside nurses. Who knows maybe she can cause a stir about this she has done it with books and mad cow disease. I figure it is worth a shot. May sound dumb but ya never know till ya try. By the way I would beg or borrow in order to be part of a million nurses march. If this is ever organized let me know.
  11. by   -jt
    <Why isn't the ANA reaching out and undertaking an aggressive membership drive?>

    It is. Thats all part of the restructuring that has just been put into motion.

    All of the studies and strategies you mention are not intangibles. They are aimed to provide the proof we need to make our argument in the legislature & get the laws we need passed. Concrete results come when we get those laws passed & employers are forced to comply by law. We're doing it state by state as well as in DC. But it does not happen overnight. Especially when you have those big-money special interests groups whispering into the legislators ears telling them why they should vote against us. Believe me, I share your frustration. Some people might think its not important for the ANA to endorse political candidates but it most certainly is necessary to help get elected those candidates who are on our side. Its not like you make it sound that we're sitting around doing nothing but writing fancy papers. As far as the media, the ANA & its members brought the nurse staffing crisis to the forefront of the news media a couple of years ago and have been on local, national, TV & radio and almost every newspaper & magazine item on the topic, keeeping it in the forefront. Many of your comments pertain to the ANA as it was in the past. Its a different organization with a different focus now. Your points about the organization as it used to be are valid and many staff RN members (including me), and other kinds of RN members felt the same way. So, instead of complaining about it, we took leadership roles within the organization and have changed it a lot since then. And still are. But we can always use more help.

    BTW, you dont have to buy copies of ANA studies to read them. You can read them online or in our newspaper, The American Nurse, which is also online. You dont pay for the report. You only have to pay for the copying, shipping, and handling if you want the whole thing sent to you in the mail. Incidentally, you can send a copy of your post and questions to the ANA or have it printed in our newspaper thru their "contact us" link on its website.

    Debra, there was a march on DC in 1995 - over 35,000 RNs, LPNs and healthcare workers from all over the country attended and brought downtown DC to a halt at lunchtime. It was at the time that RNs were being "downsized" out of the job and replaced with nurses aides. The issue was safe patient care. The motto: "Every Patient Deserves A Registered Nurse". It was an exhilarating day. You can get a videotape of it at www.greatnurses.com. It was the most inspiring thing I ever was involved in. I couldnt wait to get home and see the newspapers and 11pm news. I was shocked that neither said a thing about it. Most of the news stations didnt bother to mention it at all. And the downsizing continued. In 1996, another RN march on DC was organized. Hardly any nurses showed up.

    Angel, Oprah did do a show on nurses a few years ago, around the time that RNs were being downsized out of the hospitals and remaining nurses were being left in skeletal staffs. The nurses on the stage were there to talk about those issues. Oprah just kept asking to hear their sensational "horror stories". That was her very first question & all she was stuck on. The nurses on the stage talked about declining quality care and the lack of RNs that were causing those horror stories. Nurse administrators in the audience took exception to their comments. The whole show ended up being an argument between the angry staff RNs about their working conditions & the angry RN executive types disputing what they said. It was embarrassing & depressing to watch. The whole message was lost and we looked like a profession full of back-biting, bytchin females. Oprah was not happy. Im sure after that show she vowed never to do another with nurses as guests.
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 26, '03
  12. by   ainz
    Thanks for the update -jt. I have emailed ANA and I am in process of joining again, even though I felt it was wasted money several years ago. I hope it is different. I am committed to doing whatever I can or am allowed to do within ANA to work toward making it an effective and truly representative organization for nursing.

    I just get really frustrated, irritated, and discouraged when I see the advances that other allied health professions have made over the past several years and the power of the AMA, then I look at what is going on in nursing and feel really let down by our association. These other guys' associations have been successful for them, sometimes at the expense of nursing, why is ours just now "restructuring?"

    Why haven't they been effective in the past? I think 102 years is long enough to figure out what works and what doesn't. How long does it take?
  13. by   -jt
    <why is ours just now "restructuring?">

    Mostly because the staff RN members and some other members were not satisfied with things as they were and, feeling much as you did, got more involved and finally insisted on it. The process started in 1999 when we focused the organization more on the direct-care RN and our workplace issues. But if youre expecting membership benefits to be free tickets to shows and stuff like that, you might still feel youre wasting your money. Cause while you do get discounts and little things like that, the main benefit is that your membership helps support the work that we need in the legislature and get it done. Anyway, if your joining, might as well put your talents to good use and sign up for N-Stat and a government affairs committee. Become a delegate, representing the nurses of your state at the ANA. Or even submit for a leadership position within the ANA: http://www.ana.org/about/election/

    As for why the previous and ineffective leadership forgot about the nurses at the bedside for so long before 1999, youll have to ask them that.
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 26, '03
  14. by   A/A/OX3
    Oh, come on ladies and gents. I am ICU x13 years. I have been fired from three jobs for patient and nurse advocacy. It wasn't the doctors that took me out... it was other nurses.

    Why? Because I refused to participate in: the abuse, the brutality, the gossip, the tattling, the laziness, the ignorance, special favors for special friends, the committees, dangerous staffing, substandard precepting, screwing other nurses, cannibalism, etc.

    We are our own worst enemy. Few of us have grown beyond what worked in junior high. The sisterhood is more important than the profession and that will NEVER change.

    I am proud to have been asked to leave three times. It tells me I must be doing something right. According to Kohlberg's theory of moral development, the highest level is achieved when you do what is right no matter the cost.

    Tell me... when is the last time you met a nurse willing to buck a manager or hold a friend accountable. When is the last time you witnessed a nurse do what was required if it meant jeopardizing her place in the pecking order. We don't need to examine the profession, we need to examine ourselves.
    Last edit by A/A/OX3 on Jul 26, '03

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