Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Meaning of "Nurse"

Rosemary Flanigan
January 28, 2010

The president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, has written a short article in Kaiser Health News that every ethics committee ought to ponder.

Think of the meaning of “nurse”:
Skilled health provider.
Sympathetic caregiver.
Trusted dispenser of medicines.
Capable interpreter of complicated medical instructions.

Yet when RWJ partnered with Gallup to conduct an opinion leader survey, it was found that those opinion leaders say our country is not taking advantage of all that nurses have to offer in areas like reducing medical errors and improving patient safety, improving quality of care, promoting wellness and expanding preventive care, improving health care efficiency and reducing costs, coordinating care through the health care system, helping the health care system adapt to an aging population, and increasing access to health care.

Instead, those same opinion leaders rank nurses seventh behind other stakeholders like government officials, insurance executives, pharmaceutical executives, healthcare executives, doctors, and patients, all of whom are perceived to be more influential.

So she calls for a bigger role for nurses in health policy, planning and management.

Do a little survey of your own institution. Let’s start at home to see if we are are profiting from such a great resource.



Blogger Practical Bioethics said...

Good Morning, Sr. (Dr.) Rosemary:

In addition to being a Lutheran bishop, I am also a retired Army Dental Corps officer with two hospital-based residencies in addition to my D.D.S.)

When I was an Clinical Associate Professor at the UMKC Dental School after my retirement from the U.S. Army Dental Corps before my ordination, I used to tell all my students (and the dentists under my command in the Army,) "you may sometimes disagree with a Physician, but never disagree with a Head Nurse!"

I absolutely agree with Ms Lavizzo-Mourey and have been saying essentially the same things for some 30 years.

In my humble opinion, Nurses are both under appreciated and under utilized. They are a magnificent resource. There is so much more Nurses can and should be doing.

+ Irl Gladfelter

Friday, January 29, 2010  

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