The solution to nursing problems - page 8

I posted this before and it seems to have been lost. I think we can corrent all of the major problems in nursing by simply having all of us take the same day off. Let's say February 11th, 2003,... Read More

  1. by   rncountry
    Actually as one of the original organizers of the Million Nurse March everything Youda said to do was the original plan. The plan was to have a march not only in Washington DC, but in state capitals at the same time. There is a website, *************************** if you go there it is nearly impossible to be able to figure out what was actually occuring. It was one the issues that caused much friction. Couldn't get the webmaster to be answer emails or even phone calls so we could work out ways to make the site more informative and relevent. It seemed to myself and one of the other organizers that the webmaster was more interested in making money for himself and a friend who would be printing T-Shirts, then he was in actually getting things organized. Then the paperwork for 501(c)3 nonprofit status was never filed correctly with the IRS, and despite numerous requests for copies of it myself and the other organizer never received them. In order to do what we needed in to do in terms of the amount of money to be raised we needed nonprofit status or we would be liable for a fair amount of taxes, not to mention having to file the tax papers correctly. I spoke with attorney's and CPA's on this and was told exactly what needed to be done, but couldn't get it done because the paperwork had been filed by the person who was doing the website, in his name. I had done hours and hours of work to contact other nurses who could help organize the state rallies, had names, numbers, email address as well as their mailing addresses. I had many, many of these. Interviews were done, and published as well. Things were rolling along bumpy but rolling. When we could not get the financial information we requested and couldn't however myself and the other person opted out. I don't ever want to do something that could piss off the IRS, nor do I want to be involved with something that I felt could be a problem and cause harm to my reputation.
    When myself and the other organizer pulled out many others opted out too. We had been their contacts, we had been the ones putting the work into it and to me the whole thing basicly fell apart. The original scope of the march was lost, the mission statement was scraped, and then changed a couple times. One of the problems that we had was that the webmaster wanted to include resp. therapists, xray etc... anyone who had something to do with patients, and we felt that the idea was a march for nurses about nurses and our problems, not the whole damn healthcare system.
    Christ I had access to a reporter for the Times, who lost interest in it when the two people who was the driving force behind it, left.
    I wonder if the posts on the subject are still around on this site? I was a very angry person over the way this all went, it was a great idea, had a great many people who were willing to make it work, shortly before we pulled out we had people from the SEIU who were showing a great deal of interest in it, and were willing to do some funding, we had someone else who could write grants so we could ask other groups who support healthcare issues to do grants to support us. We had plans on how to keep the group going so that we became a resource for nurses who had been retailated against, for information on bedside issues for the media, all sorts of great ideas and groups that we could have likely pulled in. It was a shame the way things happened. I ended up apologizing many times to many people over it, and the way they were treated because they had warned me about the character of the man doing the website and how they felt he was in it for the money, and I had roared back at them. Instead they were right. It was not until there was an interview and many posts on the internet regarding the issue that the webmaster took off the ads and attempts to sell all sorts of things whose major money was not going to go to the march fund, but into the pocket of his friend.
    What I have written here is only a little of the whole thing, and I don't care if someone doesn't believe me or anything else. I was there, and I know.
    So were was I when the "Million Nurse March" took place? Don't even remember, because no one knew it was still going to happen.
    The only person who managed to pull off a march and make it a media event was Karen O'Hara from PA. Our own Karen here.
    teamrn, I don't know who you are, and I hope you are not too offended with what I have written. The march should have been something, but it wasn't because it wasn't properly funded. Nurses were not notified, that takes alot of money. How is it that the organizers did not know there would be no turnout? How very unfortunate it went the way it did.
  2. by   -jt
    Just look at all the work that went into this, all the resources ready, all the organizations lined up to help, & all the media set. Then ....... pffffffff! How ready are they all going to be next time when we come knocking on the door for their help & support?
    Cant you just hear them all ---
    "sighhhhh...its nurses... again"(yawn)


    I went to the Nurses March in DC in 1995. It was a great day - truly energizing & inspiring for the 35,000 nurses and healthcare personnel who participated. There was a lot of support from the community in DC who watched us, but when it was over, what big changes were there? It was tremendously advertized. Nursing leaders, organizations promoted it. State nurses assoc, RN unions, & healthcare unions got their people there - rented buses, paid travel costs, gave out Tshirts, buttons, bumper stickers, flyers, etc and still there were only 35,000 - not even all RNs - out of 2.7 million RNs in the country. At the time we didnt have mandatory ot for RNs, instead, we were having massive layoffs of RNs - downsizing & restructuring down to skeletal staffs, losing our jobs & being replaced with UAPs. The causes were different, but the situation was just as bad then for RNs & though RNs came from across the nation Alaska to Florida, the majority still didnt come. We had a terrific march for a day, but since then things have gotten worse. I wont go so far as to say it was money wasted because it did wake up a lot of nurses to get more involved in nursing politics & activism, rejuvenated us, and brought those of us who there together, but I think thats all it did.

    I dont have the energy to start something like this from scratch. If Im going to expend all that efort, Im putting into my already-established state & national organizations to help get more positive long term effects & to make our voice stronger. Just think how far all the money that is needed to spend on one march for one day could go if we had it to apply to things like more lobbying for the nurses workplace conditions/recruitment/retention laws that are sitting in Congress right this very minute.
    Last edit by -jt on Oct 18, '02
  3. by   James Huffman
    Originally posted by
    I would do this, Can it really get off the ground? Would this cause patients deaths? Let the mds work the bedside!!!
    Would this cause patients' deaths? Count on it. If we don't think there would be very serious repercussions from such an action, then we must have a very low view of the importance of the work nurses do.

    Physicians work the bedside? That's not their job. They are not nurses. We are, and we have a responsibility to carry out our area of professional practice.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  4. by   Youda
    -jt and rncountry, I am really impressed by the dedication you both have shown to the nursing profession. I can't imagine the amount of time and work you both did to organize something like that. I belong to a national group (non-nursing) and getting a few thousand people to agree on anything is almost impossible. We've had similar problems with non-profit IRS stuff, in fact it took several months of debate (not all of it very pleasant) before we actually got it done.

    One thing that has worked in that group is to break tasks down into committees, and work strictly on a Roberts Rules of Order. The committees are each given a task to accomplish, and that keeps any one person or group from needing to do it all.

    In that group, we've also had to take meticulous care to avoid anyone profiting from monies. There is always someone who tries to profit, and rncountry, your experience (sad to say) was almost predictable.

    Yes, you all had some failures. You also had some success. Do the failures now prevent nurses from speaking up? Isn't it possible to take the failures and learn from them?

    Back in the last centruy (cough), one of my first political involvements was as a delegate to a state convention for the passage of the ERA ammendment. As women, we were pretty green to the concept of politics. If you remember that time, opposition was intense, especially from some of the churches and religious groups. We gained some victories, we lost some. But, the messages weren't lost. Things like equal pay for equal work, battered women, single mothers, discrimination, etc. Back in the 70's, those were new concepts. Some would say we didn't get very far in the last 30 years. But, I think we did. The ERA didn't become part of the constitution, but we won public support and awareness.

    Now the big push is healthcare. As nurses, we don't have to start from scratch to try to educate the public. They are already aware that there is a problem. They are not aware of how it affects nurses, though. What I'm saying is that the momentum is already here. Let's use it.

    Failures in political activity are just as frequent as success. But, if you're really dedicated to your ideals and message, you learn from those failures so you can be more effective next time. And, you keep hammering away, because change doesn't occur instantaneously. It takes hard work and many years to accomplish.

    I'd hate to think where woman's rights would be if Susan B. Anthony or or Elizabeth Stanton had ever given up because her attempts didn't win them their highest expectations for change. Fact is, if they had given up, you wouldn't even have the right to vote yet.

    So, this is a plea not to give up. Learn from the past and what didn't work. Find new solutions and approaches.

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
  5. by   rncountry
    That last quote Youda is interesting, it was the tag line for the Million Nurse March when it first started.
    Also had an interesting experience at work yesterday. We had a new patient admitted, and I went to see them fairly quickly. She had a chemical burn on her neck and her lips from an IV infusion of Vanco that had not infused, instead it had run out of the tubing onto her neck and lips, had a vascath with infusion port in her neck. This had occured on a med-surg floor with a nurse who had 9 patients, not my place. I introduced myself to the patient and her son as the wound and infection control nurse. The first thing out of the son's mouth was "What are your patient to staff ratio's?" I have never had a patient or family member ask me that. I explained that our facility had a policy that day nurses did not take more than five and nights no more than six, and that assignments are made according to patient acuity. He nodded and said that is what the case manager at the prior facility had told him but he wanted to make sure they weren't lying to him. This man is absolutely furious that his mother ended up with this burn. He is not angry with the nurse, he is angry with the facility for asking the nurse to take care of so many patients, and is seriously thinking of suing. We had a long conversation regarding the nursing shortage and causes.
    I wonder if people will start asking this question more frequently. I have another patient right now that had dopamine infusion go sub Q in his right arm. The damage is deep and extends nearly the full length of the inside of his right arm. He will never make it through a surgery and am not sure what eventually can be done for it. The problem happened again on a med-surg floor. Different hospital. Must be I have been off a regular med-surg floor too long because when I worked one we would not have done a dopamine drip there, that would have been done in ICU.
    I hope that eventually the public will start asking pertainent questions about how nurses can do the job and take care of their loved one, on a regular basis.
  6. by   jones58
    I have noticed that patients and patient family members are aware of nursing shortage. They see how hard and fast everyone works. Only 'management' is blind. We need to open their eyes. 'MacDonald's' has a higher staff-customer ratio than health care.
  7. by   Youda
    I've seen families fight management more than once, fighting for good care for their loved ones. Slowly, these families are organizing, too. By state, and nationally. I don't agree that there is no hope for health care. It may not be tomorrow, but I see a huge storm brewing out at sea. Sooner or later, it's gonna hit landfall. And when it does, I think there's going to be an Enron style change. Let's just keep talking and helping to seed the clouds.
  8. by   outbackannie
    MacDonaald's has a bigger "gene pool" from which to draw and at minimal wage; but I understand what you're trying to say.
    The problem being- patient's are sicker and more needy, are more aware of the importance of a nurse in their recovery process-and even IF management approved a ratio of 1 nurse for every 4-5 pattients, where do they get the nurses from during a shortage?
  9. by   TiddlDwink
    The problem with walking out... strikes... and all that stuff is 3-fold.
    1. Many of us have families to support and can't afford to lose our jobs.
    2. Strikes occur when for some strange reason a bunch of nurses have bonded together for the purpose of improving their conditions (which most of us don't have the "balls" to do). THEN nurses are imported from other states and paid 2 or 3 times what the striking nurses were making, when money could have been saved by just giving the original nurses more money & benefits in the first place.
    3. Nationwide, nurses will not all agree to do anything for any reason! And if you have only a small percentage, administration says, "To hell with them. Hire some new ones!" And there are always people looking for jobs.
  10. by   rebelwaclause
    Great idea...But our patient's will be the ones suffering?

    "It's all about the patient"
  11. by   abrenrn
    Maybe a board like this can start something. I have felt like I'm all on my own here. Frustrated and angry at how nurses are treated and the ultimate impact of that on patients. Very frustrated with nursing associations, education, etc.

    1 - State nursing associations may be working for nurses but they expect nurses to research them and find out. The AMA, for example, begins trying to recruit members in medical school.
    Letters, visits, etc. may cost money but increase membership - bringing in more money. We are easy to find through our licenses.
    2- Many ANA leaders are in education, research and management, often disconnected from the clinical practitioners, causing many problems: in short, they do not know what lies behind the nursing shortage - they got away from bedside nursing as fast as they could.
    2 - The public does not know what the profession of nursing is, what it has accomplished. Suprisingly, many nurses don't know. Florence Nightengales nursing significantly reduced the death rate of injured soldiers in the Crimean War from 42% to 2%. The only reason she was able to start an independent school of nursing over strong objections by contemporary physicians was the overhelming support she had from the public - who were happy that, after her, wounded family members had a very good chance of surviving medical care; before her the chances were slim. Lillian Wald's portrait in the national gallery is under social work. Nightengale did not leave any strong leaders behind and hospitals quickly took over nursing education - as an opportunity for unpaid labor, education generally secondary. This is exactly why Nightengale had insisted on independence.
    3 - A movement back to independent nursing schools occurred but needs of hospitals, community colleges are put ahead of the educational needs of nurses. In my school, and others, subservient behavior was modeled and expected - which is not appropriate in post secondary level education.

    How has "organized nursing" - educators, leaders of the ANA allowed this history to be lost?
    Why is it that only Florence Nightengale's faults are remembered? Why is she so neglected in "Nursing theory?"
    Why hasn't organized nursing protested the placement of Lillian Wald's portrait?
    Why don't they shout out the data about the number of RNs per patient is the only indicator for positive patient outcomes? Can have all the nursing assistants, resp. therapists, PTs you want, without RNs the patient doesn't do well.
    Why have they not pointed a finger at the major contributing factor to this shortage - large layoffs of RNs to save money, realizing later that they were losing money because of increased risk of UTI's, wound infections, etc.? Hositals did that when there had been a surge in enrollment at nursing schools due to the increased salaries that came out of the mid to late eighties shortage. No nursing jobs, no students.
    Why does organized nursing seem to think that if we keep showing what we do, others will finally see? As nursing accomplishments since Nightengale have been forgotten or ignored, this does not seem to work.

    Overall, I don't believe professional organizations or nursing education have put the interest of the professional nurse first on their agendas. The needs of patients, hospitals, physicians, schools come first. The best way to address these, especially patient needs, is to address nurses needs.

    Any suggestions? I think a grassroots movement is all that's left. A single nurse can accomplish only so much.

    Last edit by abrenrn on Oct 21, '02
  12. by   abrenrn
    How about a new organization - The NONOS - the national organization of nurses on sabbatical. Ads, articles would start:

    The NONOS - say no to poor patient care; say no to the unprofessional environment of the nurses who provide direct professional patient care.

    Something like that. Open to all nurses on sabbatical (temporary or permanent), considering sabbatical, or who have taken sabbatical and are now back in nursing. This would mean nurses who are unhappy, even angry, at the conditions in which nurses usually practice, the lack of awareness of the role of nurses. We are especially unhappy about the impact on patient care as we are (or should be) the providers of direct professional nursing care.

    Anyone interested?
  13. by   outbackannie
    I think in order to accomplish what we want, nurses need to quit their hospital employer and either go into independent contracting or join a registry. That way uou can be assured of a decent hourly rate, can pick and choose your shift and days/nights you want to work. If they hospital didn't comply with your terms of contract - FINITO! - they lose your services, and word of mouth could finish them off.