State Nursing Boards- what is their real role and why aren't they doing it?

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    I am trying to figure this one out, and maybe someone out there has a good explanation for it. OK here it goes: It is my understanding that our State Boards are to protect the public from us, that they are not for our benefit. So why do these State Boards not stand up and protest about the understaffing that we are facing and the dangers that this represents to the public? I mean if they are to protect the public from us, why are they not stepping in here to protect our patients? In Texas, we have what they call a Safe Harbor Act which to my disgust I have learned is a form a nurse fills out if they are given what they feel is an unsafe assignment. This completed form then protects the nurse from disciplanary action by the board if anyone files a complaint against the nurse during this unsafe period. Does anyone else see the insanity in this? I mean why has the public been put into an unsafe situation in the first place? If the nurse is saying, "Hey guys this isn't safe to do this" and no one listens and still demands that the nurse go ahead, where is the State Board in all of this? Why was the nurse put into a situation under protest? Anyone have any insight into this?
  2. 6 Comments so far...

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    Hi,
    Some good points, bunky. I don't pretend to have the answer either. Most boards, to my knowledge, are directly tied to the state government so if the governor and his/her staff in your state are not proactive patient advocates, then it's probable the state board won't be either. No doubt, lobbyists from groups outside of nursing play more heavily in how you practice nursing than you or elected or appointed nurse leaders do. Of course, as evidenced by your post and my own experiences as a nurse, this does not help the cause of providing quality patient care in a balanced fashion.
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    Thank you. That sure puts it in it's proper perspective as to why nothing changes. Do you know what I'd find very interseting here? I'd love for some MD's to read half of this stuff and comment with their honest opinions on this stuff. Sometimes you get some docs who have a clue as to what kind of miracles we are performing but someties you get some who think you're simply a peon who is overpaid at that. Do you think that any of them really understands how bad the staffing situation is and the potential danger it poses?
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    Thank you. That sure puts it in it's proper perspective as to why nothing changes. Do you know what I'd find very interseting here? I'd love for some MD's to read half of this stuff and comment with their honest opinions on this stuff. Sometimes you get some docs who have a clue as to what kind of miracles we are performing but sometimes you get some who think you're simply a peon who is overpaid at that. Do you think that any of them really understands how bad the staffing situation is and the potential danger it poses? Do you think that they'd step in if they did?
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    I have to admit I don't understand all the complications with the state boards, but in Milwaukee we will have the opportunity to talk with someone from the Wisconsin Licensing Board in September. The local nursing organization is having an open meeting (not just for members). I hope that the information will stimulate nurses to come hear what she has to say and ask questions so we all have a little better understanding. NA
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    The State Boards and the gov.are in bed together.They scratch each others back.
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    Originally posted by bunky:
    Thank you. That sure puts it in it's proper perspective as to why nothing changes. Do you know what I'd find very interseting here? I'd love for some MD's to read half of this stuff and comment with their honest opinions on this stuff. Sometimes you get some docs who have a clue as to what kind of miracles we are performing but someties you get some who think you're simply a peon who is overpaid at that. Do you think that any of them really understands how bad the staffing situation is and the potential danger it poses?
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    Hi bunky,
    I think the doctors are very focused on keeping their heads above water in this era of managed costs... er, uh, care. It's known as survival of the fittest in the age of large profit. I think some doctors and administrators wouldn't care if they worked with nursing machines as long as orders were followed, tasks were completed, satisfaction level of patient/family is good or better, and they got theirs. That's why it is so important for nurses to demonstrate concern about the well-being of our patients, ourselves, and the overall picture in health and medical care in unison.



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