In regard to Nurses and Power

  1. http://nursingworld.org/ojin/topic32/tpc32_3.htm

    This is in response to the article in the above link (Thank you, NRSKarenRN) where "Eleven nurse leaders participated in our discussion sessions. Together, the nurse leaders reflected the diversity of leadership roles within the nursing profession. The group included a clinical nurse specialist, nurse manager, vice president, program manager, nurse scientist, dean, chief retention officer, and a nurse faculty member. Through a series of questions, the nurse leaders were asked to think about power in the broadest sense and to speak about what power means to them and how it is manifested in their practice and organization."

    OK, so my contention is that they are saying that nurses need more power in order to influence the changes in healthcare. Note that they didn't ask any bedside nurses, so I thought I'd ask you good people here what your thoughts are, and see how they compare with those of the respondents in the article. Here are the questions posed to the nurse leaders:


    1. How do you define power?
    2. Define the power dynamics in your organization and how they are different from those found in other organizations that you have practiced in.
    3. How do other disciplines and department members view nurses' power in your organization?
    4. Are you a powerful nurse?
    5. Do you think nurses are perceived as powerful in your organization?
    6. What strategies have you seen nurses in your organization use to increase their power?
    7. Do you believe that practicing nurses in your organization view the nurse leaders in your organization as powerful?
  2. Visit BBFRN profile page

    About BBFRN

    Joined: May '02; Posts: 8,317; Likes: 6,285
    Nursing Faculty; from US
    Specialty: 15 year(s) of experience in Trauma,ER,CCU/OHU/Nsg Ed/Nsg Research

    9 Comments

  3. by   BBFRN
    Here are my answers:

    Quote from Baptized_By_Fire

    1. How do you define power? The ability to affect change in the organization and profession to better the workplace and patient care overall.
    2. Define the power dynamics in your organization and how they are different from those found in other organizations that you have practiced in. We have too many chiefs- 1 CNO, 2 Directors, and about 15 NMs for a 384 bed hospital. My previous hospital had 1 CNO and about 5 or 6 NMs for a 404 bed hospital.
    3. How do other disciplines and department members view nurses' power in your organization? They do respect the mgmnt, but not the bedside nurses.
    4. Are you a powerful nurse? I'm working on it. I try to be vocal and do my homework before presenting something to TPTB.
    5. Do you think nurses are perceived as powerful in your organization? In some ways, but we have a way to go before we actually "arrive."
    6. What strategies have you seen nurses in your organization use to increase their power? Most are very good at working up the chain of command, but they wait until they can't take any more before doing so. We still get mandated, and haven't had a real cost of living increase in a while. We have "town meetings" monthly with the big wigs, but if the big wigs don't want to hear something, or don't want to answer a particular question, they won't address it. Many nurses have stopped going to these meetings for that reason. They ask what's the point? Some give up, some leave, and some continue to be vocal. It usually takes a group of old-timers to get together and go up the chain of command with their concerns. They are not always addressed in a timely manner, though.
    7. Do you believe that practicing nurses in your organization view the nurse leaders in your organization as powerful? Yes, as far as the CNO and Directors. No, as far as middle mgmnt.
  4. by   spaniel
    Just an "aside". I work as a consultant to LTC facility. There were six people (men) at 8 PM to put tiles on a "section" of the floor. There was one CNA for forty people. One LPN for forty people. Power??
  5. by   BBFRN
    Definitely not power. What kind of consulting do you do?
  6. by   spaniel
    Psychological counseling to patients with MS, Parkinsons,etc.- I'm licensed at the doctoral level. I've worked in the healthcare field since the early 70's-you name it- RN in med/surg,CCU, supervisor in MRDD. But never ever have I seen conditions like I'm seeing now.
  7. by   Simplepleasures
    Quote from spaniel
    Psychological counseling to patients with MS, Parkinsons,etc.- I'm licensed at the doctoral level. I've worked in the healthcare field since the early 70's-you name it- RN in med/surg,CCU, supervisor in MRDD. But never ever have I seen conditions like I'm seeing now.
    What in your opinion, is the cause for these conditions?
  8. by   anonymurse
    Hey, whatever their current positions, they're all bedside nurses. But we all know it's easy to forget where you came from and who you are when you get to higher altitudes.

    Pardon me a momentary digression, but at one time at IBM, every senior VP had to take a customer complaint call once a month and see it through to resolution just to keep them in touch.

    But there's a better thing. If the profession were to adopt bedside nursing as its ideal, the thing we identified with, we wouldn't worry about this nearly as much.

    We have to ask ourselves if dentists, PTs, physicians, RTs, x-ray techs and so forth have any problem in this regard. Then we have to fix our image, the image we project to ourselves.

    This whole sad obsession with professional status, with BSN vs other entrees--for cryin' out loud, putting initials for a stinkin' BACHELOR'S after our names--this bespeaks a poverty of soul, a vacuum that needs to be filled with an honorable identification.

    Nothing better to fill that void than holding bedside nursing as the ideal, as the way we approach everything.

    We have too much too-goodism. Too good to wipe butts. Too good for the bedside. Sounds like "too good to be nurses."
    Last edit by anonymurse on Mar 27, '07
  9. by   spaniel
    Just a belated reply to ingelein- what do I see as the source of the conditions?I do believe, that after all factors are analyzed, public apathy for the aged gets my vote for route cause.Yes, there are many determinants, but things are so very severe in the LTC settings that I see public apathy as the root cause.
  10. by   Simplepleasures
    Quote from spaniel
    Just a belated reply to ingelein- what do I see as the source of the conditions?I do believe, that after all factors are analyzed, public apathy for the aged gets my vote for route cause.Yes, there are many determinants, but things are so very severe in the LTC settings that I see public apathy as the root cause.
    I agree with you. I worked in LTC for 27 years, getting myself in trouble several times for standing up to what I thought was unethical or even illegal, culminating with my being fired in retaliation for reporting an illegal/unethical practice by my employer to the state oversight agency.I found protection under my state's Healthcare Worker Retaliation Protection Act.I filed a lawsuit under our state Equal Rights Division of the Department of Workforce Development.I have excellent attornies who have taken my case on contingency of winning.

    I have spoken to several Nursing Home Reform Advocacy groups and they have stated to me the same conclusion you have drawn, public apathy, and the devalueization of the elderly. Plus they have told me that this administration's policies and the powerful lobby of the multibillion dollar a year nursing home industry , has prevented any progress in LTC reforms from happening.
    Last edit by Simplepleasures on Mar 27, '07
  11. by   HM2VikingRN
    The measure of a society is the way it treats the very young and the elderly.

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