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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Nursing - Two Media Features During National Nurses Month: Expanding Roles

Mother's Day Washington Post and the weekend Bill Moyers National Public Broadcasting interview program gave nurses feature spots on Mother's Day Weekend - during National Nurse Appreciation Month. Do these features represent all nurses?

Washington Post highlights the national campaign launched by Nurse Practitioners (advanced practice nurses) who are educating the public about their role in expanding access to quality and affordable primary care to help fill physician shortages.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/nurse-practitioners-look-to-raise-profile-fill-gap-from-doctor-shortage/2012/05/12/gIQAHmHYLU_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines

A more controversial, out of the ordinary, story aired on Moyers and Company, a National Public Broadcasting interview program where the commentator conducts civil conversations with people engaged in public policy through the media or politics.

In the story "Serious as a Heart Attack", Moyers interviewd RoseAnn DeMoro, from National Nurses United, about how some nurses are engaging in labor movements beyond their scope of practice, so to speak, and supporting initiatives like "99%", "Occupy" and a movement calling for a National Transaction Tax.  (Prolific Florence Nightingale surely never wrote about these issues!)

http://www.alternet.org/occupywallst/155402/%22serious_as_a_heart_attack%22%3A_roseann_demoro_explains_how_to_raise_$350_billion_from_financial_transaction_tax/

Do these two features speak about all nurses, for all nurses or suggest all nurses agree with the above?
I'm a nurse. This is my opinion:

Nurse Practitioners are excellent primary care providers!  They excel when their practices are synergistic with physicians, especially when they refer clients to appropriate specialists, as needed.  Kudos to Nurse Practitioners for launching a campaign to explain how nursing has grown from being bedside caregivers to key providers in health care.  Nurse practitioners are raising the standard of care for all providers and improving access to care for people who might otherwise be unable to receive health care because they live too far from a facility or cannot afford to pay - nurse practitioners fill both these voids and more!  I can safely say most nurses applaud the expanding role of advanced practice nurses - who work hard to achieve higher educational goals and provide excellent care.

As for "Serious as a Heart Attack", and National Nurses United- ahhh (!), not so fast to leap on this point of view.

Nurses are one of the most trusted professional groups.  I sincerely hope spokesperson RoseAnn DeMoro isn't using the compassionate support nurses receive from public opinion to promote national economic policies, especially ones we, frankly, are not familiar with.  In my years in nursing education, traditional- baccalaureate and graduate - I didn't have even one course in economic theory.  Surely, nurses should understand more about economics, but, if you polled student nurses, I'm confident a course on economics and tax policy would be way-way down on their academic priority list!

During the interview between DeMoro and Moyes, I waited for the correlation to be explained between nursing and economic-tax policies- if there was a connection made, it escaped me.

So, why is National Nurses United involved in the unfamiliar National Financial Transaction Tax?
I don't know.

Of course, nurses are advocates for our clients-patients- their families and other care givers.  To the extent these groups are involved in the care of a client, I suppose it makes sense to help provide for their economic as well as physicial well being whenever possible.  Nonetheless, I can't understand the correlation - not yet.

So, with some caution, I must advise Mr. Moyers to bring on other nursing advocates to help better explain RoseAnn DeMoro's point of view.

Otherwise, it has been a great media weekend for nursing - who'd-a thought even 20 years ago that nurses would be on the cutting edge of such prestigious news?

Happy Mother's Day and Nurse Appreciation Month!

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