Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lessons Learned from NTI

As a newbie to AACN’s NTI (American Association of Critical Care Nurses, National Teaching Institute) I did not know what to expect; I certainly did not know how ‘big’ and overwhelming the conference was going to be. And inspiring. I cannot possibly list all the incredible sessions I attended, interesting, intelligent people I met, and information I learned. But I can tell you that being in a room with over 7,000 nurses aspiring to provide the best, safest, quality, evidenced-based care they can was exciting. Sharing success and challenges, heart-wrenching stories and uplifting accomplishments was both invigorating and frustrating. This is what healthcare is supposed to be – nurses committed to caring, compassion and excellence; living it, everyday. Isn’t this why we got into nursing in the first place? Because we care and desire to nurture and heal those who are ill or in need?

One of the highlights of the conference is the AACN president’s message. The current president inspired us and shared how we have “Act[ed] with Intention” as she passed the reigns to the incoming president who unveiled her theme for 2010: “Stand Tall.” So the question is what does it mean to “stand tall” as a nurse and how will I accomplish it? I challenge others as well to think about standing tall: doing the right thing, going the extra mile and striving for excellence. No matter how small the act or the intention, we as individuals can make a difference in each patient’s experience and that alone is cause for standing tall.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Building better care

Another interesting article (Physicians must become team players) on providing primary care and the steps it will take to ensure patients are cared for and each provider type fills their niche. And although cliche' it really is about teamwork and working collaboratively and complimentary of one another towards the same goal...quality & cost-effecient patient care.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Celebrate a nurse

Recently there has been a lot of discussion in the mainstream and healthcare media regarding ‘turf and title wars” between healthcare providers, namely physicians and nurses that has resulted in nurses being painted in a negative light. (Fox News Health Blog) Nurses have been characterized to be less intelligent than physicians, only going to nursing school because they were unable to get into medical school, that physicians are the only providers saving the lives of patients and nurses are merely task-masters and have no role in the recovery and outcomes of patients.

During this time of uncertainty within the healthcare delivery system, I find it incredibly demeaning and inappropriate that instead of looking toward common goals (patient care) that we are bickering about who is smarter, who has more education and who can provide care or perform what skill. Interestingly, the myriad of medical-drama television programs portray physicians frequently performing nursing roles with a disproportionately higher number of physicians to nurses.

There is no doubt that nurses are not content with the current system –an increasingly growing number of sicker patients in the acute care setting with less resources resulting in poor patient outcomes. Impending Medicare cuts (for both primary care and hospitals), an ever changing and evolving healthcare landscape and decreasing numbers of all levels and types of providers; this includes physical therapists, pharmacists and respiratory therapists just to name a few. Shouldn’t we be focusing on the current resources and collaborative practice?

Maybe the discussion we should be having is how can physicians, nurses, advanced practice nurses and all other care services provide safe, efficient, and competent care together?

With so many unknowns related to the healthcare reform bill, it is time to seriously look that the global impact that the changes are going to have on all providers and patients. We are all professionals and deserve to be treated with respect no matter education level or title we have.

It is time for nurses to let their voices be heard and re-educate others about the important role they play in providing safe, quality healthcare.

Happy Nurses Week to the 2 million strong and intelligent nurses across the country.

And remember to say thank you - they might just save your life one day!