I love nurses, but I feel sorry for them. They have more impact than anybody on the care of sick people in the country, yet I wonder if anyone listens to a damn thing they say when it comes to “reforming” the healthcare system.
I’ll never forget when we asked Dorrie Fontaine, dean of the University of Virginia School of Nursing, what she’d like to see in a healthcare reform package (see video). She said, “We would most like to see that nurses are at the table so that access to healthcare for the poor and underserved in America can truly be accomplished.” In other words, please just listen to what we have to say.
Maybe things will change with yesterday’s formation of National Nurses United, a super union of 150,000 members created through the merger of the California Nurses Assn., Massachusetts Nurses Assn., and United American Nurses. What the new group seeks is “a major escalation in campaigns to expand union representation of nurses and an expanded voice in healthcare reform.” Sounds reasonable to me.