A Nurses Role in Health Care Reform

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    As the 2008 presidential candidates gear up for the election next November, the campaigning heats up.

    Although I have not given much thought for whom I will be voting, there is one topic that is on all the candidates minds; healthcare. This is usually a very popular topic every election.

    Being a nurse, I feel I should pay more attention to this subject, but often get frustrated with the complexity of the subject and loose interest.

    John Edwards believes nurses are a key element to health care reform in the United States. Edwards' website states that he is the champion for universal health care and the nurses who will provide it.

    "Nurses", what do we have to do with universal healthcare", Edwards asks.

    "Nurses are the backbone of our health care system. We cannot provide true universal health care without strengthening nurses. We need to make a serious investment in the profession, starting today", he continues.

    Edwards believes nurses are the key to making universal health care work. He says he will invest in recourses to pay nurses more, fix the shortage, and treat us like professionals.

    Here is a summary of Edwards Universal Health Care plan involving nurses. First, the nursing shortage we hear so much about. Edwards plan adds 100,000 nurses within five years through nursing retention programs; bringing back nurses who left the profession and increasing the number of nursing graduates.

    Edwards believes America has dangerously low nurse staffing levels and his plan involves providing adequate and safe staffing levels. Edwards will support hospitals in finding the staff they need to provide high quality of care.

    We all know working more than 12 hours at a time is very dangerous. It puts your patients and yourself at risk. Edwards says he can eliminate mandatory overtime. Edwards plan also aims to improve workplace safety by offering recourses to hospitals that commit to major improvements in nurses' working conditions. For example: offering more time off, new safety standards, and giving us a voice in hospital administration.

    After looking at other presidential candidates healthcare plans, not one mentioned the word nurse. John Edwards was the only one whose plan involved strengthening the nursing profession.

    I'm not sure if nurses hold the key to better health care in the United States or if this just a tactic to get votes, but one point remains true; all the candidates want to fix this very broken, downward spiraling, skyrocketing cost of our health care system.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 12, '15
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  3. by   safta24
    Haven't seen any comments on your thread, Any positive mention of nurses is a bonus for us we need constant affirmation in the publics eye, but as far as reducing the "skyrocjketing cost of health care' who do we approach first? Insurance co. lawyers?our Health minister? or hospitals, for the most sophisticated country in the world our health system sucks. Can the govenment dictate to the insurance co? I sure don't know
    humbly submiitted
  4. by   x_coastie
    I think it is funny that John Edwards is telling us what is good for health care. He has single handedly removed 10s of millions from our health care system for his own personal gain. He has already "changed" health care for the worse, not only personally gaining millions, but driving the cost of health care through the roof. Companies spend billions to try and protect themselves from crooks like him.
    Last edit by x_coastie on Jan 1, '08 : Reason: spelling error
  5. by   Nurse Bob
    Nurses should be actively involved in reforming health care, but backing a single candidate is not the answer. As for John Edwards - x coastie said it all. Check out Edward's own sites where he proudly lauds his history of litigation against the health care community - I wonder how many individual nurses were named in those lawsuits? The real tragedy in health care delivery is that two of the most trusted professions, nurses and doctors, have given so much control of our work over to two of the least trusted professions, government and lawyers. I personally plan to put a great deal of energy into attempting to affect positive changes during the revamping of our current pathetic system. Change is coming and nursing should become a much louder voice.
  6. by   oramar
    I have followed John Edwards career and intended to vote for him in primary. Trouble is there is chance he won't be on the PA ballot.:uhoh21:
  7. by   usyankee
    I just moved from North Carolina where if John Edwards planned to do anything to improve nursing or any OTHER working conditions while he was there, he would have done so.

    Labor law in North Carolina states the employer can treat the employee AS IT SEES FIT, and there are no limitations to hours or days a worker can be forced to work in a row, and that includes nurses.

    There are no laws to allow you to eat drink or pee on the job, and employers abuse that fact. I also worked at a psych hospital in North Carolina and got beat up all for the whopping salary of $14 an hour. NC gets paid 1/3 less of what CT pays.

    By the way ladies, we need to demand an Amendment to the US Constitution that add women to the "all MEN are created equal" clause & ideology so we women, including we nurses can start getting paid the SAME as males, including male nurses. Men still think women are inferior and women used to get paid less because it was considered "PIN" money (frivolous) when in fact, many of us are self supporting, and many of us support families (and husbands) as well!!

    We also need to stop the law where it is against the 'rules' or law to discuss your salary with others. This prevents you from suing the company for paying you less than a man... when you finally find out by accident.

    The US Supreme Court just ruled for Firestone and against a women stating she was 'aware' she was getting paid less than a man when she received her first paycheck (some 13 or 14 years prior I think) ... thereby voiding the statute of limitations on it, EVEN THOUGH it was illegal to discuss her salary with others. I say this is against the US Constitution. Not just Freedom of Speech (forbidding you to discuss your salary with others) First Amendment, but also Unequal Treatment of a woman against a man(Equal Protection), and due to the fact that all US Supreme Court Justices -- but one-- is a man (she dissented) it is a gender-biased decision.
  8. by   elkpark
    Quote from usyankee
    By the way ladies, we need to demand an Amendment to the US Constitution that add women to the "all MEN are created equal" clause & ideology so we women, including we nurses can start getting paid the SAME as males, including male nurses. Men still think women are inferior and women used to get paid less because it was considered "PIN" money (frivolous) when in fact, many of us are self supporting, and many of us support families (and husbands) as well!!
    You must be too young to remember the Equal Rights Amendment of the '70s (the same idea you state above) -- we tried for many years to get it passed, but were finally unable to get enough state legislatures to ratify it before the deadline.
  9. by   usyankee
    there is no equal rights 'amendment' in the constitution. and 'persons' in the constitution (14th amendment) usually meant white males.

    'citizens' were allowed to vote in 1870 (15th amendment) but that did not include women (apparently women were not considered citizens?).

    an amendment for women to vote didn't come around until 50 years later.


    here's a clip of that site:

    [font='century schoolbook','serif'][html]
    the equal rights amendment, first proposed in 1923, is still not part of the u.s. constitution.
    the era has been ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states. when three more states vote yes, the era might become the 28th amendment.
    in these pages, find out about this historic amendment ... and join the effort to achieve equal rights for women and men.

    ps. i will be 50 years old in 2 months!
    Last edit by usyankee on Jan 9, '08 : Reason: addition to comment , HTML code
  10. by   usyankee
    I forgot to mention--

    When I had started a new nursing position about 14 years ago, female nurses told me a story about a nurse who had just been fired. She suspected the male nurses were making more money than her, but how could she prove it? (According to a recent US Supreme Court decision in favor of Firestone, the plaintiff was assumed to know from her first paycheck but no one has no way to prove that one knew!)

    So guess what this nurse did--14 years before this US Supreme Court decision? She opened 2 male's paychecks and found out they made $2 more dollars an hour that female nurses with the same experience and tenure. The result? She got fired and everyone else got $2 raises.

    The moral of the story is females are still being treated unfairly. Men get paid more money than females for the same work. By having laws forbidding us to discuss our salary perpetuates the problem because there is no legal way to prove one is being treated unequally.
  11. by   elkpark
    Quote from usyankee
    There is no Equal Rights 'Amendment' in the Constitution. And 'persons' in the Constitution (14th Amendment) usually meant white males.
    Yes, I believe I said that we were unable to get the amendment (ERA) ratified at the time.

    And I apologize for underestimating your age!
    Last edit by elkpark on Jan 10, '08
  12. by   oramar
    The Bush administration is loading up the court with conservative judges. They are going to vote for business and against the working person for many years to come.