The Measure of a Man

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.



- Martin Luther King, Jr.



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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

4 Common Myths about the Nursing Profession

For years, nursing has been a highly sought after profession for individuals interested in medical science and patient care. Nursing was not recognized a true profession until the mid nineteenth century. However, nursing (though not defined as so) has been around for many years, originating with midwifery and household childcare. Nurses have long been the unsung heroes of the medical world. With perilous work weeks, seemingly endless 12 hour shifts, and daily duties that ensure the safety and well-being of the ill, nurses are essential components of our health system. While nurses no doubt hold an important role in the safe running of our society, there remain several myths and misconceptions about the nursing profession. These four myths about nursing are common and widespread, but are (like all myths) ill-informed and poorly supported.

Myth 1: The nursing shortage guarantees jobs for new nurses on the job market. Sadly for some, this just isn't true. Even with a fairly drastic shortage of nursing professionals, there are numerous hospitals and offices that are turning away under qualified nurses seeking jobs. Obviously, just because there is a shortage in nurses throughout the country does not mean that practices will hire any nurse they find available. The nursing shortage in the U.S. is a complicated issue that likely is rooted in the vast gap between what the public thinks nurses do and what nurse actually do.

Myth 2: An associate's degree does not qualify you to obtain nursing certification. An associate's degree in nursing (ADN) is the minimum requirement to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination. So, an associate's degree alone is not enough to qualify you to be a practicing nurse, but it does allow you to take the licensing exam. Many students choose to pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing before attempting the licensing exam, but an associate's degree is adequate.

Myth 3: Nurses should not establish emotional relationships with their patients. Many people think that in order to remain professional, nurses cannot develop strong emotional with the patients they are caring for. However, after spending hours upon hours tending to the well-being of an individual, it can be very difficult (if not impossible) for nurses to remain unafflicted by their patients. The provider/patient relationship is a complicated one to understand. Both parties require respect, integrity, trust and compassion. Without a relationship built off of equity and compassion, a caregiver cannot properly facilitate the patients' healing and care.

Myth 4: Nurses are just gofers for doctors. A very common misconception, but also a horribly misinformed one. Nurses work to assist doctors in the needs and care of the patient and the facility. While nurses certainly act as assistants to doctors and specialists, they are definitely more than mere errand-runners. Nurses help to diagnose and treat patients. They are there to ensure that patients' get the care that they need and work to educate patients on ways to care for themselves. While, of course, nurses do perform tasks that doctors request of them, this does not mean that they are any less important than the doctors themselves.

By-line:

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Social sites for nurses by guest post.

Top 25 Social Sites for Nurses
June 9, 2011

Employees and students across the industry have discovered nursing social networking sites invaluable for learning, socializing and for job connections. Nurses find safety in numbers on these social sites where colleagues offer tips, advice and support. However, some sites are safer to use than others. The list of the top 25 social sites for nurses listed below include safe sites for professionals, including forums, student resources (including sororities) and organizations specifically designed for nurses.

Follow the link below to read the rest of the article and link to the tp 25 social sites.

http://bestmastersinnursing.com/2011/top-25-social-sites-for-nurses/

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pulling Some of it Together

As some may have noticed I changed the blog introduction and mission statement to reflect the emphasis that I have been giving to labor issues and the politics surrounding them.

I am writing this post today to attempt to pull all the recent links and post I have made together to explain how they all relate to the bigger picture of nurse rights and health care.

The last couple of years has clearly defined the objectives of the two political parties and in my opinion has clearly revealed the plan of the Republican Party. I know some will see this as somewhat paranoid and conspiratorial but when it is all put together I think it is pretty clear.

The popular, knee jerk, push to cut the budget and decrease the deficit on the backs of social programs is the opening that the Republican Party has been looking for to make advances in diminishing if not destroying the labor movement and social aid programs and we see this in action in a dozen or so states and at the federal level at this very moment. With the recent Citizens United ruling that gives corporations unlimited abilities to influence elections and the simultaneous destruction of organized labor we will be like lambs to the slaughter if as individuals we attempt to stand up against our corporate employers. This goes for nurses as well. Even if you are not working at a unionized hospital the head of that hospital is always worried about the possibility of a union and that fear to a degree keeps them in check and makes them at least consider the patient safety issues that are so important to nurses.

Unions have many issues and are not always the hero in every argument but they do for the most part represent the needs and issues of the common working man and they act as a counter to the corporate interest that are concerned only with profits.
Nurses and workers in general need to know that they can come together and organize to have their voices and concerns addressed. When this option goes away, Patients will suffer, nurses will suffer and the public as a whole will suffer. The debate will no longer be on finding the middle between what works for both business and the community but what increases profit and what is needed to make it easier for the interest of the corporation to be met.

I hope that you will continue to read and view the links I post and join the discussion with your comments and guest post. Only through dialog and debate will our country continue to move forward and I feel that we as citizens still have the right to that debate and are responsible to engage in it to make our nation stronger. I can be reached via email at the link in the top right corner of this blog and welcome all comments and suggestions.

The Story of Citizens United v. FEC (2011)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Walls in Nursing: How to Break Them Down

The New York Times recently published a blog article by Theresa Brown, R.N., in which she describes the sometimes alarming nature of walls within the medical profession and how these walls can sometimes cause unbearable tension in hospital hallways. Any yet, her post relays the story of what happens when one of those walls come down, allowing nurses and other medical professionals to unite in a common task: caring for their patients.

Brown's piece opens by invoking Robert Frost's poem "Fences," which introduces the theme of walls between neighbors. She then talks about how areas in which nurses work in oncology are separated. She writes, "There's 'med onc' and 'surg onc,' and never the twain shall meet."

All of this was true for her until she met a patient with a blood disease who needed an immediate operation to repair a hole in her intestine. What followed that discovery was a story in which she and a surgeon were able to come together and smoothly and efficiently care for the patient. She found that after that experience, the walls that were constant throughout the hospital were not so strong, and she was able to surmount them in order to care for another human.

The entire story is worth a read, which you can see here, and it got me thinking: what are others ways that nurses can unite and break down barriers within the profession? What are some walls that continue to blockade various nurses from fully uniting as a group and exerting their influence in the health care world?

For me, as someone who often writes about nursing schools, the gender issue is the one that most greatly affects the acceptance of males in the nursing world, and is thus a huge wall to overcome. Fortunately, there has been much headway made towards making male nurses more welcome in the profession, especially in how nursing programs have shifted their admission materials to be more attuned to the needs of male nursing students. As this has happened, we have seen the number of male nurses dramatically. Of course, there is much more we can do.

But what? When you see these walls in your nursing profession, what ideas do you have for continuing to break them down and unite together?

By-line:

This guest post is contributed by Kitty Holman, who writes on the topics of nursing colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: kitty.holman20@gmail.com.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Push To Repeal

Now that the elections of 2010 are over and the republicans have taken back the US House and many of the state governments houses, senates and governorships there is a big push on to fight and repeal the Affordable Health Care act passed last year.

I as most who have read any of my post probably assume, opposed to the repeal. I was never over joyed by what was accomplished with health care reform last year but do believe it is a step in the right direction and repeal would be taking a step back. Millions more Americans are now without insurance or the means to buy insurance or meet their medical needs due to the recession and general malaise of the current economy.

As a nurse I see the increase in patient admissions during hard economic time due to peoples inability to afford their medications or co pays. Taking away or limiting options would only make the problem worse.

I firmly believe that no matter how you view this issue there is one fact that cannot be denied. People will continue to get medical treatment no matter what happens or who ultimately wins this fight. If the insurance companies and the for profits get their way they will continue to get richer from the suffering of others and the tax payer will continue to pick up the tab in the end.

You must understand that cost of care is associated with the degree of illness and acuity of the patient at the time of service and it is always less expensive to prevent or manage chronic diseases than it is once they have become emergencies. Take hypertension for example, if managed it can cost a few hundred to a couple thousand a year versus tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands for the treatment of a stroke, heart attack or kidney failure due to uncontrolled emergent hypertension.

It just makes economic sense to ensure that the basic health care needs of our fellow citizens are met and that people have the opportunity to get the health care they need.

Visit http://www.healthcare.gov/ to see how the Affordable Care Act can and will benefit you and your community.

Join me in writing your representative at both the federal and state level to say that we want them to focus on creating opportunities and improving the health and well being of our nation. They were elected to make the live of Americans better, not worse.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Time well spent.




Finally a preacher of my religion. Blows my mind and gets me thinking in a way that I once believed only possible through pharmaceutical means.

For the Science Believers

Share your opinion

The post are designed to evoke conversation that leads to action. GET INVOLVED!!!, lets us know your opinion, post your comments today.
You can post your comments anonymously if you like or use any name you choose. We are not interested in knowing who you are but what you think!!

My Story

My Story


I have been a nurse for just over ten years. I earned my degree with the support of my wife and financial assistance for the GI bill. I was drawn to the profession of nursing after a brief exposure to an advanced course in field triage while serving in the army. I find the human body fascinating and am always learning. I also was attracted to the profession for all the usual reasons that bring people to the profession of nursing. I enjoy the reward of giving to my fellow man.

I believe that health care and the advocacy of safe care is the foundation of nursing that was started by our founders like Florence Nightingale. Our practice act calls for our profession to advocate for our patients and against practices that puts their safety in jeopardy.

The healthcare industry has for the last twenty plus years constructed an environment to maximize profits at the expense of patient safety and our profession. We as nurses have stood by fairly quit and allowed for this to happen.

Recently, I and others voiced concerns related to patient safety and working conditions at Summit Hospital a hospital owned by Healthcare Corporation of America. Our issues included the working of nurse with approximately six month of experience for more than twenty four hours straight. This particular nurse did volunteer to work these hours but in my opinion should not have been ask to do so. She is a great nurse for her limited experience but put her license and the safety of her patients at risk that night. The manager of the unit failed her and the patients in her charge. Study after study has shown that the error rate goes off the chart after twelve hours. I and fifteen other nurses also expressed to management our concerns over the floating policies that were sending unqualified nurses to our unit. We noted several instances were these nurse made errors that put the patient in potential jeopardy. We also expressed our concerns over ratios of 3 to 1 becoming the norm in the unit when 2 to 1 is considered the norm in intensive care across most of the country.

We submitted these concerns in writing and signed by sixteen nurses from our unit. Management responded by holding meetings with a group of employees that they chose and their representatives which included the director of HR, our unit manager and the director of nursing. The meetings at their start gave us some hope that our issues might be taken seriously and dealt with. It was soon apparent that would not be the case and these meetings quickly moved away from our issues to their issues. They would agree that their were problems but would not put any solutions into writing, stating that they needed to be able to remain flexible and made statements like we will try instead of we will.



At around this same time I was informed of an organization called the NNOC or National Nurses Organizing Committee, http://www.calnurses.org/nnoc/about-nnoc.html that was holding meetings in the Nashville area to organize nurses to advocate for patients and against many of the problems that I expressed above. I met with their organizer and felt that their movement was something that I could support. I became a member of the NNOC and began attending meetings on a regular basis. I also began placing invitations to attend meetings in the break room of my unit and speaking with interested coworkers, while on break, about the need to organize and advocate for our patients and our profession.

After a short period of time I was ask by my manager about my involvement with the NNOC and my desire to form a union at Summit Hospital. I did not deny my association and did not hide my opinion as to why I felt that organizing was needed. I also informed them that I had the right as outlined in the National Labor Relation Act. The nursing staff at Summit was then subjected to mandatory anti union meetings and letter sent to our homes and to our email accounts at work. I was required to attend meetings with the hospital attorney and informed that because I was a charge nurse I was considered management and could not associate with the NNOC. I contested that I was a member of management but submitted to their demands to end my association with the NNOC. I never attended another meeting or recruited for the cause after that meeting. I did however continue to operate a blog, http://nurseadvocates.blogspot.com/ , that advocated for reform of the healthcare system and employee rights to organize. I did not use computers at work for this endeavor and did not use my real name on the blog or use any other names that would tell a reader where I worked or who I worked for.

I was ultimately terminated from Summit Medical Center on June 11th, 2008 for what I was told was the operation of a blog. I was given no specifics of what about the blog was grounds for my termination despite my asking. I appealed my termination through the hospitals employment dispute resolution process, attempting to get clarification as to what about my blog was cause for my termination. The peer panel dispute process was a sham. The panel as outlined by the hospitals policy was to be made up of my peers, who were “not familiar with the problem or have a close relationship with any of the parties involved”. The panel was anything but and was made up of persons who had expressed an open hostility to my rights to organize and to freely associate with the NNOC in the past. Two of the panel members were charge nurses from the ER also under the supervision of my manager, who had terminated me. These two persons were also at the meeting with the hospitals attorney and expressed anti union sentiment. Another panel member was a person who was well aware of my personal views related to unions and the right to organize and had been present at private settings outside the hospital were I had expressed my opinions related to the issues that started all this. This puts three of the five panel members in clear violation of the policy. I then was refused the right to seek any clarification as to what about the blog was grounds for my termination despite that being the stated reason for the panel. I was not given the right to hear the reasons as stated by my manager and the director of HR.



I am writing this because I believe that my fundamental right to due process has been violated. This is a right to work state and right or wrong that gives Summit the right to do as the please when it comes to hiring and firing of employees but most people believe and Summit attempts to mislead their employees that they are fair and just when it comes to matters of employee issues.

If Summit is allowed to get away with this and is not challenged then patients are at risk. Health care workers need to be free to advocate for safety for their patients and if they are scared into submission then patients will suffer.


Join me in fighting for our rights to free association and to advocate for our patients as our practice act requires. Support the employee free choice act, http://www.freechoiceact.org/page/s/aflcio and send a message to Summit and other corporate bullies that feel you are entitled to the rights they give you and nothing more.
Also visit sited like Leap for Safety and support petitions to mandate stronger legislation that will ensure a safer environment. Visit http://www.leapforpatientsafety.org/ to get involved.

I truly believe that our healthcare system is in dire trouble and we as nurses have a responsibility to get involved. Please join the fight. Your family may one day depend on what we do today.

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