Or, a nurses’ union protesting at the NATO meetings, to be more exact. Lots of news stories covered this story today, so I thought I’d touch on it.
Perhaps this is puzzling to people who think of nurses as doctors’ handmaidens, bedpan emptiers, and bosses at psych hospitals. Or perhaps it’s troubling to people who feel that nurses should be apolitical, providing compassionate care to everyone without ruffling any feathers or making anyone uncomfortable.
The union members at this particular protest seem to be advocating a “Robin Hood tax” along with a general anti-war message.
Whether or not you agree with the politics, I think it’s crucial that our society think of nurses, and that nurses think of themselves, as promoters and protectors of well-being. So, yes, you may see your friendly neighborhood R.N. waving a protest sign for a political cause that affects the well-being of the community– more power to her/him.
(Just to be clear: I’m not talking about bedside nurses engaging in political actions, or god forbid, discrimination, while in the role of direct caregiver. I hope we all agree that at this level, everyone, regardless of politics, should be treated equally. I am talking about nurses as community members, advocating for causes that they feel are important to the health and well-being of the community. Ok? Ok.)
The New York Times is all about nurses today!
In this “Fixes” piece on “The Power of Nursing,” David Bornstein talks about the Nurse Family Partnership (where nurses make home visits to families beginning early in a mother’s pregnancy and continuing until the child is 2) and its great successes in improving health and preventing all kinds of troubles — including criminality later in life for the kiddos. Perhaps the most interesting thing he notes? It doesn’t work if someone who isn’t a nurse makes the same kind of visits.
Lawyer’s favorite part:
What’s special about nurses? For one thing, trust. In public opinion polls, nurses are consistently rated as the most honest and ethical professionals by a large margin.
That’s definitely not, er, something people say about lawyers.
Entire text here, but just for us nurses:
“So I know how important nurses are, and the nation does too. Nurses aren’t in health care to get rich. Last I checked, they’re in it to care for all of us, from the time they bring a new life into this world to the moment they ease the pain of those who pass from it. If it weren’t for nurses, many Americans in underserved and rural areas would have no access to health care at all.
And that’s why it’s safe to say that few understand why we have to pass reform as intimately as our nation’s nurses. They see firsthand the heartbreaking costs of our health care crisis. They hear the same stories that I’ve heard across this country — of treatment deferred or coverage denied by insurance companies; of insurance premiums and prescriptions that are so expensive they consume a family’s entire budget; of Americans forced to use the emergency room for something as simple as a sore throat just because they can’t afford to see a doctor.”
There’s a slew of healthcare stuff here, but I just had to point out the nurse-love! GoBama!
The new plans involve a “health insurance exchange,” allowing consumers to comparison shop, and a public healthcare option available to everyone (like a broader medicare), which would hopefully increase competition and improve private insurance as well. Of course there are kinks and details, but we’re rolling. . .