Reply to Barton

Nurses General Nursing


Reading through the various replies sounds like we are at my hospital in Ohio. We are also experiencing a nursing shortage that is greatly impacting patient care. I agree with you that we need to let ANA & our legislators know of this situation.

I have tried for over an hour to get on the ANA web site, but I am getting an 'overloaded' message. Hopefully, it is all the nurses out there writing to tell them of their situations. I'll try again in the AM. We do need to stick together- we could be a very powerful group with the ability to accomplish many great things.

I hope you keep trying to contact the ANA. You are right--there is power in numbers and as the old adage goes....the squeeky wheel gets all the grease. It's time we start squeeking. Hopefully the legislators not only hear us, but also act on these requests.

I believe that only legislation change make things better for pt/nuse/family. Unfortunately, the ones who can make things better take too much $ from big HMOs. When I was living in Ca, the governor vetoed a bill that would have brought reforms to managed care that would have made treatment easier to get and allow HMOs to be sued for malpractice if a pt dies because of delayed diagnostics/treatment.

What I can't understand is why they don't see that it's cheaper to treat people early rather than later when the prognosis is worse and recovery time longer. Prime examples are those people who are working (both parents) that are trying to raise a family but can't afford health insurance so their only way of obtaining medical care is via the ED. Costs a lot more in the long run. Or what about states that don't require insurance co's to pay for mammograms. Earlier diagnosis, earlier tx, better prognosis, less cost. But hospitals and HMOs aren't concerned with the long run, they only care about how much cash can be made now and how can we get a bigger piece of the pie. Sophie and I used to work together so she fully understands about what $$$ can buy. And that includes putting a monetary value on human life. And all this time I thought life was supposed to be priceless.


Blues Forever

Hi All,

THANK YOU to GigiDues, BethanyJ, and bluesboyj for responding!

GigiDues---Thanks for attempting to e-mail the ANA and I'm SO glad you'll keep trying! It's REALLY good news that their site is OVERLOADED isn't it? I'm SO glad you told me that! We can only hope, as you say, that it is due to overwhelming mail from nurses. I haven't received a response from my e-mail to them on 2-26-99(?) so I plan to e-mail again on Monday (or maybe weekends ARE better since I assume their offices are closed), and then on Monday, if they read their mail, I'm hoping they have a LONG list of e-mail from all of us! Will you let us know if you get through and if you get a response please let us know what it is. THANKS!!


Thanks for responding! Have you been able to get through to the ANA? Please let us know if you do and what they say, will you?--and don't forget those state legislators!! THANKS!!


Sounds like you've had one bad experience with health care legislation out there, but I beg you not to give up! Please e-mail the ANA and your legislators and let us know what happens, ok?


By the way all, I try to keep my mail to them short and to the point--(so I get my message across before they get bored)--something like:

"To Whom it May Concern: (for ANA, otherwise legislators name and title)

I would like to know if the American Nurses Association is doing anything about nurse understaffing. If so, please explain what it is and please tell me what I can do to help.


Please KEEP UP the communications with the ANA and legislators and please keep posting results so we can all see the positive steps we are taking and keep each others' spirits buoyed!!





I also used brief messages to my legislators. I directed them to this message board, stressed understaffing is a national concern among nurses and wouldn't it be GREAT if it was *OUR* wonderful state that was the forerunner in instituting changes to improve the staffing and thus quality of patient care. I'm hoping this angle will work. I intend to keep sending my messages on a weekly basis until I get a response. I should rephrase that to say until I get the response I want to hear. wink.gif haha. I will post any response I receive.

There would be hell to pay but I wonder if it isn't time to get the media involved. I worked for a "community owned, not for profit" hospital and I believe if the "owners" really knew what is going on there would be an uproar. One of the problems is that board members are MDs, lawyers, generally those with mucho $. I think the boards of hospitals should be made up mostly by those who we serve. Only a small portion of our census is wealthy. Most are trying to get by on Social Security, Medicare, etc., yet decisions regarding the quality of care is being determined by those who can afford to go to private, for profit, "posh" hospitals if they choose. I worked with a couple of nurses from New Zealand where everyone is covered by insurance provided by the government. They said it is NOT like Canada. There is no waiting for surgery, denial of care based on age/Apache score. Ironic isn't it? Using the name of a tribe who lost a lot of "family" to those who wanted their land to describe a tool used to determine how agressive we will be in treating someone based on age/prognosis. We all know that something has to be done. With tools such as the Apache scoring guide, again I say there is now a $ value on life.


Blues Forever


I did finally get on the ANA's web site and was able to e-mail them. Will post any response. Also, I will be encouraging the nurses that I work with to do the same.

Thank you GigiDues!!





I don't think that there is anything we can't say to the press--legally speaking as long as the concerns are legitimate and true. However, as bluesboyj wrote--there would be hell to pay even in those states with whistleblower acts enacted for those who chose to speak up. Those pulling the strings and running the show can make life even more miserable than it is now for the nurses who speak up. Suggest nurses DOCUMENT and keep private records at home before they speak up. That way those who speak out via the media will have a little leverage to fall back on when the management turns up the heat. You can bet your bottom dollar that nurses will be asked to provide specifics such as dates and instances to prove that staffing endangered patient care, etc. They will have their own records, undoubtedly fudged somehow to show that no such problem exists in their facility. I'd bank on it. I've heard it's happened before. Then they point to the nurses and label them as troublemakers and whiners. I'm new to this political arena here and don't have a law degree--these are just my thoughts.

Hi All!

Way to go BethanyJ!! Yes, it would be nice if "our little group" gained enough support, with letters from nurses everywhere, to effect a positive change in staffing!

Thanks for your stamina---keep up those letters and e-mails!

I have e-mailed the ANA ([email protected])on 2-26, 3-3, and 3-7, 1999 and have not received responses, BUT I am not giving up!

I also could not get to the ANA sites at [email protected] OR hope these addy's are correct.)

HOWEVER, I believe that one CAN E-MAIL the ANA at [email protected]'s the address I've been using. (I hope the mail is getting there! Ha!)

I also e-mailed the Florida Nurses Association and begged them to make this issue one of their "priority" legislative issues and told them that I had written the ANA and Rep. C. W. Young.

I wrote to Rep. C. W. Young (he doesn't have e-mail apparently). I'm afraid my letter was not as brief as I've suggested (Ha!)and after describing our problems I told him that we ARE NOT WHINING--that as licensed personnel we have many opportunities for advancement not previously available--that we FEAR for our patients' well-being and CHOOSE to remain in bedside care!

I also used your suggestion and referred him to this site under "General Discussion Topics".


I agree that the media is a good way to go. Have you had any dealings with them? Could you advise us on how to approach them and what we can legally say?

Keep up the letters and e-mail folks!! I feel momentum here and it feels GOOD and PROMISING!

PLEASE post any and all mail you've written and received about this!

I still think it's GOOD NEWS that both the ANA sites I've tried are overloaded or whatever, don't you??!!




Thanks for your response. I agree that documentation is the key AND that we might find discrepancies between our documentation and that of administration! Apparently, one of the most valuable tools they gave us in school was the incessant cry, "DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, AND DOCUMENT, huh? I like to think that if 2 or 3 nurses on the same shift have similar documentation, it would negate that of administration.


Have you looked at your state nursing association's web site? Obviously, I am paraphrasing only a small portion of what is written on the Florida Nursing Association site but here goes:

Under "Workplace Advocacy", one of its purposes is to promote the welfare of nurses so that everyone will receive better nursing care. They encourage nurses to call with their concerns, etc., including staffing, and one of their goals is to provide guidance and information to resolve a problem.

This annoys me. Is there no ONE POWER for us to turn to that has the ability to speak and rule definitively?

I am confident however that if we can encourage ALL nurses to contribute to our outpouring of e-mails and letters, that not only might we effect some positive changes, but perhaps we WILL be provided with a law or SOMETHING that will keep our hospitals safely staffed!!

Thanks BethanyJ--Please continue to post---your ideas and info have proven invaluable!





I am waiting on pins and needles along with you! I trust that you will post as soon as you hear anything.

I have e-mailed the ANA 3 times (with no response yet), the FNA (Florida--I received a return receipt today that states it was read today--but no response yet), and I faxed a letter to Rep. C. W. Young (FL) just this afternoon.

I have a feeling that the ANA and state nursing associations are receiving a large number of e-mails and letters from this site, and I'm concerned that these associations might be thinking "We'll just let this little "phase" of theirs pass and they'll stop writing."

PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE fellow nurses, DON'T let this happen! I'm not suggesting that we be a nuisance---just PERSISTENT! Please DON'T let them think that we will give up trying to get ADEQUATE and LICENSED staffing for our patients!

Even if I don't receive responses to my mail, I plan to continue writing and e-mailing at regular and polite intervals and I urge all of you to do the same. Please don't give up. If they stop receiving mail from us, because we are discouraged with the lack of response, then I believe we will fail.


Thanks again Canrckid----I am THRILLED and I think that your post gives all of us a much needed piece of OPTIMISM!!



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