Published Aug 18, 2000
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Hey, Barbara Rose, on another posting suggested something that I think we all should think about! What about organizing a rally like the Million Mom March only for nurses in protest of unsafe healthcare? If we did something like this it would bring the issues into the public eye in a way that we can't do alone! How could the media ignore several thousand of us getting together? If we were all to attend and bring along another nursing friend or two, how many do you suppose we could gather? I think that if the public had any idea of what was really going on in healthcare facilities and how it affects THEM, it would become an issue which they could relate to as opposed to just a nursing issue. Imagine what this could result in if we all got together for this cause?!
Anyone interested in working on this, and planning the details, post away! What I am proposing is that we would meet in one city, and hold a march much like the million mom idea. We'd need a core theme, which I feel should be unsafe healthcare, and all of the other issues such as unsafe staffing, manadatory overtime etc.. would fall under this idea.
I for one, think that we need to take action. I am tired of feeling this way, hating my working conditions and feeling hopelessly overworked, and I know that I am not alone in thinking that the profession is in need of some strong unity, and needs to be heard in a way that a single individual just can't accomplish alone.
So dear readers, how about it? Let's go for it!
[This message has been edited by bunky (edited August 18, 2000).]
[This message has been edited by bshort (edited September 19, 2000).]
I like the idea. About the topic I think the focus should really be about the public, how those issues affect every person that accesses healthcare or will access health care. Otherwise I feel the public will just blow it off as a bunch of nurses just trying to get more money... while that would be nice.... If you can convince the public how the nursing problem affects them personally, you are likely to have much more success. Good luck! Keep the progess posted.
bunky, BSN, RN
Hello to a fellow Canuck Saphie! What I am thinking about the issue of unsafe healthcare does all tie into one thing though. Like how can you receive decent care when your nurse has 8 or more patients to care for, things go wrong, and all in an effort to save money. It's not just about nurses job satisfaction it's more that even the nurses are afraid for the patients when we are pushed beyond sane limits by administrations seeking to save money. I am hoping that thye'd understand that kind of a connection as it does relate to them on a level that they can understand, much the same way they relate to a doctor who purposely overbooks, thus none of his/her patients get the attention they deserve, and here the attention that they are paying for out of their own pockets.
We shall see how this goes. Gee, I'd be really interested in hearing from "others" and you know who you people are! C,mon you guys! Geez, finally a positive solution that has some teeth to it and suddenly I find myself stuck the cone of silence?
Theoretically it's a good idea but I don't think it will ever materialize (unless everyone wants to come to Boston, then I'm all for it!). Would this march be in the form of a protest.... then the White House would probably be the ideal. Nevermind. We want recognition on these issues. Boston would be a great place, especially in light of the publicity that St. Vincent's Hospital just received. Anyway, the concept is great and everybody could stay over my house; bring your own air mattresses. Could the 50,000 of us coordinate personal time off? What about plotting to write to a few major newspapers scattered throughout the country? Even a few hundred responses written personally by us in the editorials could gain national recognition. New York, California, Florida and pick a northern state... I think that would be much more feasible and realistic. But I reiterate, conceptually it's a great idea. Boy, this lack of response is going to burst your bubbly, huh Bunk??
But see this wishy washy stick our head in the sand silence is exactly what others are complaining about! No solid leadership. No one wants to get off their asses and do anything. And I think that Texas would be a better spot, and I can suggest a few lovely hotels. Ha! Ha! And yes, it does kind of burst my bubble.
ECHO...ECHO...ECHO...? Ha! Ha! Anyone home?
I totally agree bunky! It is that wishy washy head in the sand mentally that prevent nurses from being recognized as professionals. And it's about everything too just about. For example on my unit that i work on the nurses spend a great deal of time complaining about the new grads and students. I tell them to contact the faculty and let them know. As students we had little say in the whole thing plus in nursing most of us felt like the instructors could fail you at a moments notice. It will take the RNs as a whole to stand up for better education of the new. Same thing here, how do you convince a bunch of women - sorry guys I know you're out there - to be strong and stand up for themselves to make themselves be heard. To take a risk to stand together. How come our professional organizations don't promote nurses? How come they don't help in bringing these issues to the public? What I was suggesting in my previous post was to make the march - should it happen - about the public. In terms they understand how they personally are and will be affected. Why we are bringing this to their attention! Why we are considered about "them"! Anything else is thought to be about money. At least with the almost strike last June here, all the public - including my family - thought it was all about money, when there was very important staffing issues that were being addressed as well as pay raises. I think it would be great to see the march happen. This tends to be my soapbox. I'm proud to be a registered nurse and think the whole proffession could use a shot of pride in who they are!
The idea sounds good. However, I'll have to concur with saphie and earle58. This vision will have to be framed from the standpoint that poor nurse staffing and management is a public health threat. For a major impact to be made, it will probably take several years of planning. This vision will definitely require the involvement of all the existing nurse organizations including unions, because they already have the expertise and connections in place. Even then, you're asking nurses such as yourself to take time away from families and other responsibilities to capture this worthy goal. While I'm not for throwing cold water on any good idea, the fact of the matter is that most nurses are not members of a formal nursing organization such as the ANA for various reasons. While I think that your idea is wonderful and agree that something like this would be helpful, I am doubtful anything would come of it alone. As a result I also support the following to combat oppression and regression (Some of these ideas have been themes in my bb posts):
1. Methodically getting nurses unionized as fully as possible.
2. Encouraging practicing nurses to demonstrate concern for the profession of nursing and not just their individual preferences.
3. Describing to nurses the need to continually further their formal education and experiences.
4. Supporting the need for improved nurse education and training with increased application to real life practice.
These are just some of the factors that I feel would help advance the cause of nurses and therefore, more importantly help to improve the overall quality of life for our customers. There have been many more expressed on this bb. Bunky, keep striving, you're on your way to being a leader in our profession.
I've got a P.S. for you. Why don't we include our customers in our march?
[This message has been edited by Mijourney (edited August 19, 2000).]
Mijourney, I kind of think that patients would want to get involved if they had any clue as to what was really going on. The thing that I find where I am, actually the last two places in Texas I've called home is that the patients have NO idea that we are this bad off for staff. I hate to say this, but a lot of the times the attitude is ME, ME, ME, no matter how bad your staffing is, they want what they want, despite family at the bedside who are physically capable of helping, they don't. I make it a personal point not to tell my patients that we are short staffed as to me that just seems like the last thing that an employee should be saying. You know what I mean? It just sounds tacky to offer that bit of info. Our management while telling us that we need to enlist the families help does nothing to assist in this either. The sad fact is that most of their complaints are voiced in the presence of the MD which makes us all look bad! I don't think that at this time I can honestly say that the public would support this, but if this type march were to occur and it was in the media, it just may change their perspective on a lot of issues. And that would be the entire point to this type of public demonstration to raise public awareness of what exactly is going on, and why they need to support nurses, if they expect a good level of care in a hospital. Sometimes I get the feeling from doctors and patients that when they see me at the desk, either charting or taking off orders, that I am NOT busy. That somehow what I am doing is very unimportant, and the fact that I am short staffed and doing the work of two people doesn't seem very real as there I am sitting down. They don't know that I don't take a break, they don't know that my shift ended an hour ago yet there I still am at the desk, and if I'm there, I am fair game. They also don't know about the fact that because I've got so many patients, none of them are as closely monitored as they should be.
This is kind of my idea to the whole thing. To raise public awareness that we are all being ripped off. Not just nurses, but them too. Look at all the stuff that gets missed when you're working shortstaffed. Careplans go untouched, nurses don't have time to really pay attention to how much people really ate or drank so I's and O's are not quite what anyone would call accurate, nor are frequent vitals kept up with. The list is endless. Meds are late, trays are late, labs go unnoticed for too long.
Anyway, I still think that despite the grandeur of such an idea, that with some sticking together it could be done as more of a grssroots type thing, and to hell with the ANA and other groups, as they don't seem to be doing such a hot job of things do they? I mean where are they when we need them? Why has it come to this if they were doing a good job, it wouldn't be in this state now would it?
PS. Saphie do you know what I saw in Ontario when I was still in school? And this took b***s, was a very well done large pull out brochure type thing is the local newspaper from the Ontario Nurses Association telling the public EXACTLY what was going on in healthcare, how gov't was getting cheap, funding to hospitals slashed etc, and that RN's being trained and Nurse Practitioners could help allieviate so much, and it listed many other suggestions and also that the gov't wasn't listening to them. Here, we have NOTHING even remotely similar to protect our interests, nor the publics really as the State Board of Nursing, just like your College of Nurses doesn't have mandates as to what constitutes safe staffing, only that as an RN you're responsible to give safe care. Well I'd like to know exactly how safe it is to try and pretend that you're doing a great job of it with 8 and more patients?! This is what I mean. Where are these unions, and boards, etc? Why don't they step in NOW and demand more, and if they aren't doing it, isn't it up to us? Really, isn't it up to us to play patient advocate when we know that something isn't safe?
[This message has been edited by bunky (edited August 19, 2000).]
PS, yes I can still think of something to add after that last one! Ha! Ha! As for organizing this, why on earth would it take several years? We discuss it, we announce that it will take place on a certain date at a certain location, and just like anything else in life, if you want to either use up your weekend off to attend or request time off to attend, it happens. It doesn't have to be as big a deal as the Olympics or something. As long as it is publically announced we aren't going to need too much, as it's just a group of concerned nurses. How do people protest or march about anything? They sometimes do it on EXTREMELY short notice in response to a recent event. Remember several years ago when all those farmers drove their tractors to the White House in response to some kind of farming subsidy cut? I am not talking huge media blitz or anything! It's something that if enough people are interested in it will snowball, but it would seem like this snowball is standing a snowballs chance in hell by the "But Bunky..." stuff here. God you guys, it CAN be done without a herculian effort, just a will to try and change things!
PPL, BSN, RN
OK, OK Bunky, does this mean I'll have to get on a plane??? How about a full page add in USA TODAY? If I MUST get on a plane, then I will, but NOT in the winter! I don't want to fly or march in the winter. Also, I think it almost HAS to be a march on Washington.
Stop thinking small, why not go ninternational and march on the UN.
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