Nurses: Leaders in Health Reform

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of dedicated people to change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

This is an unprecedented year for transformational health system change. It is not only important for nurses to be involved ~ it is Critical!

The illness care system is in crisis. People seek basic health care in hospital emergency rooms, 51% of the American population takes medication, and our greatest killers, obesity and lifestyle diseases are escalating.

As treatment costs rise exponentially, the number of people covered by health insurance is decreasing. Often modern illness care results in financial bankruptcy. These trends are disastrous.

Additionally, the current economic down turn requires that solutions be radical, cost-effective and immediate in order to turn the tide.

The system cannot survive if we continue to focus exclusively on a medical model of symptom diagnosis and treatment. The trends demand a radical shift toward helping people learn how to become and stay well.

What profession focuses on helping people become and stay well? Nursing!

With the overwhelming mandate for change demanded by our recent election, a window of opportunity is open for health system evolution. Not a revolution that throws out the medical model, rather an evolution that expands the system to include a continuum of care supporting and promoting health from birth through the life-span and transition into death.

There will never be a more critical time for Nurses to Show-up, Speak-up and Step-up to Make a Difference for the Health of America. If you are ready to seize this unprecedented opportunity to influence how the health system evolves, now is the time.

Now is the Time to Show-Up as a Leader.
Nurses led every major health reform in history. Nightingale reformed hospital and battlefield health. Lillian Wald began reforming public health as a nursing student, later establishing the Henry Street Settlement to provide care to the poor and immigrant population. Mary Breckinridge, a nurse-midwife, reformed maternal-child and family health by founding the Frontier Nursing Service, educating and employing nurse-midwives, and establishing family care centers in the Appalachia Mountains. Margaret Sanger reformed reproductive health and Dame Cicely Saunders, known for her role in birthing the hospice movement, emphasized the importance of palliative care.

Today, nurses are showing up to lead by creating innovative health care delivery models and shaping public policy.

Now is the Time to Speak-Up as a Nurse.
Nurses once again rank #1 as the most trusted professionals in the annual Gallup Poll. Talk with your public. They want to know what you think. What nurse has not received a call at all hours from family and neighbors asking for advice or counsel before seeking medical care?

Nurses comprise the largest number of health care providers. The mandate of our license is to serve the public and advocate for safe, effective and accessible health care. Let the public hear your views.

Speak up with other nurses. Share your concerns and ideas as colleagues and team members. Form a nursing mastermind group to refocus your practice on health and create innovation together in whatever nursing arena you practice.

Speak up with your legislators, the people who decide the scope and limits of your nursing practice.

Now is the Time to Step-Up as a Professional.
If the purpose of nursing is helping people become and stay well then nursing is about not only attending patients in hospitals and other tertiary care settings. Only 3% of the population is in an institution. The other 97% needs nursing in the form of primary care, health education, health coaching and wellness.

Who will decide the future of Nursing and Health Care? Your Legislators will!

When I was President of the WV Nurses Association, I learned that the only thing more important than big money in influencing legislators is big numbers.

We sent out the Call and Nurses Showed-Up in record numbers to Unite at the Legislature. These nurses filled the galleries of the House and Senate to overflowing. As a result, we were able to support the passage of three bills including landmark needle stick and mandatory overtime protection, and block a fourth, which allowed unlicensed personnel to dangerously perform nursing functions. The legislators heard the nurses’ message loud and clear!

The nurses, who Showed-Up, Spoke-Up and Stepped-Up for that challenge protected the public and the ability for all nurses to practice safely and effectively.

Will You Show Up as a Leader to meet today’s challenge of health system reform, Speak Up as a Nurse to advocate for the health of all Americans and Step-Up as a Professional to articulate the cost-effectiveness and need for expanding access to professional nursing care?

Borrowing from our President-Elect ~ “Together, We Can”!

© 2008 Aila Accad

Aila Accad

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11 Responses to “Nurses: Leaders in Health Reform”

  1. Tsar Brainless Harry Reid Says:

    What needs to be reformed in our health care system?
    Do our hospitals need reforming? And if so, medical or financial reforming?

    Do our doctors, nurses and other health care professionals need reforming? If so, in what way?

    Do our emergency services need reforming?

    Do our medicines need reforming?

    If none of the above, then is it the cost that needs reforming? If so, how does government reform the price without having a Canadian or European result? And if that’s the result, where will the world go for health care after we become just like theirs?

    Will we have only the Government Motors Insurance Corp for medical insurance plans? If all private insurance is forced out of the market, where will government employees get the super plans they get now?

    Has anyone looked at the way the government runs the VA health care and if so, what makes you think the government will do any better with your health care? And do you remember owebama wanting our service personnel to get their own private health insurance for combat related injuries?

    Finally, has anyone in Congress read this bill, or like the rest, do they just pass it because their "leaders" tell them to?

  2. Incarcerated Bert Says:

    This is actually a rant disguised as several questions.

    BTW, GMAC is not part of GM. It is a separate entity, like Citi, or Bank of America.
    References :

  3. ocularnervosa Says:

    Eliminate insurance companies and HMOs. Those are the two groups blocking average people from getting health care.
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  4. Feeding Five Thousand Says:

    All of the above.

    The world doesn’t come here for health care.

    Many Americans are forced to go to Mexico for drugs, dental work and other forms of health care.

    No one is proposing a single payer health care system. In fact, Obama’s plan is supported by the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries. You know why?
    Because this plan is a huge windfall for them.

    So read the plan and stop accusing others of not doing exactly what you are not doing.
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  5. i_was_myself Says:

    Our hospitals need reforming. Many of them are still administered by 1970s technology. Only 3 percent of hospitals have completely modernized.

    Our medical practices need to be modernized. Go to any other country and they will run the hospitals whenever they need something. Americans let their condition grow worse so they can go to a cheaper clinic 2 days later. And yes, I have insurance, and have done this.
    We need to focus on prevention.

    And why shouldn’t we become like the Netherlands where most people can see their doctor on the same day?
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  6. they need self reforming as some one who has used the VA system and the other gvt run system the Indian Health Service, I can tell you gvt has no business in the health care industry
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  7. First there certainly is no health care crisis. With Obama, everything is a crisis so he can rush things through without anyone reading the little perks the Dems like to slip in. I would, however, address tort claims to lower malpractice rates. Doctors insurance rates have skyrocketed which of course gets passed on to the consumers. I’d also make any co-pay or even employees contribution to their health care tax deductible, then I’d lift restrictions to allow health care companies do business across state lines. If there’s a good plan in California, why shouldn’t someone in Maine be allowed to sign up for it.
    This would help lower the price because of the competition.
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  8. why do Republicans seem to think that every canadian and european comes to the us for care?

    it’s simply a lie… there are many high level private clinics thoughout the world that cater to many wealth clients…

    some of those high level clinics are in the U.S. and some of the wealthy do come here… yes, that is true… but it’s NOT in any way "everyone" as you imply?

    is there one Republican who has a single clue about what is going on in health care in the world, beyond their own propaganda?
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  9. Watch ‘Sicko’. It’s a real eye opener.
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  10. There are a lot of areas that could be improved. Let’s start with offering affordable health care insurance on a tiered basis (i.e. If you cannot afford a cadillac plan, you buy a plan that covers your basic needs in case of a catastrophic event). Let’s offer tax incentives to businesses that offer affordable plans to their employees. Let’s offer incentives not to use expensive emergency care for routine medical problems. Let’s offer incentives for people who take steps to lead a healthier lifestyle and to those who see their doctors routinely for preventive care.

    Next we should tackle medicare fraud. I think the government should improve the medical coverage they offer now, before they take on anything else. They are far worse at covering the sick, than the private insurers are. Why should we trust them to cover an even greater number of people when they have proven themselves to be so ineffective?
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  11. The Patriot Says:

    The system of health care delivery.

    First of all, Obama wants to make insurance more available to all. And change the system so that it is cheaper, and also so that the insurance companies find it harder to get out of paying for treatment. The system he is proposing looks similar to that which works in Holland and Switzerland where private companies are involved in providing insurance.

    Second, of course universal health-cover sucks. That is why we in Western Europe have it. We think, hmm, our healthcare system sucks. I know, lets keep it. I guess that is the same with Japan and Canada as well.

    Third, Obama campaigned on reforming the healthcare system. He said he wanted to make insurance more available and he was elected by the American people to do this.

    FACT – the US has higher death rates for kids aged under five than western European countries with universal health coverage.
    FACT – the USA spends more on healthcare PER PERSON than any other nation on the planet.
    That means that a dead American four year old would have had a better chance of life if they were born in Canada, France, Cuba, Germany, Japan etc, all of which have universal health coverage.