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Healthcare Reform Q&A With Mother Jones Of Nurse Ratched’s Place

nurse-ratched-smallest-webI hate it when I can’t get into conversations that are happening on my own blog. My job at UGH (undisclosed government hospital) has a way of getting in the way of my real life. Jeanne T. has asked a lot of valid questions about healthcare reform. She also asked me to answer some of her questions. Here we go:

Have you read HR: 3200?

I have not read all of H.R. 3200 – America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. Reading War and Peace is more entertaining than reading a congressional bill, so I only got through about 150 pages of text before my brain cells started imploding. However, I did learn a few things about the proposed legislation. No one is going to kill your grandma or reduce Medicare benefits. This new legislation will save money by cutting billions of dollars in overpayments to insurance companies and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse. Maybe that’s why the insurance industry is spending billions of dollars to defeat this bill.

Question: Do you currently have money taken out of your paycheck
for Social Security?
 Do you believe that you will receive Social Security assistance when you pass the age of 65, 70?
 What is the reason that you and I will not receive Social Security checks?

Answer: Do I have money taken out of my check for Social Security? Is the Pope Catholic? The good people at UGH take money out of my check every two weeks for Social Security, and I know that I’ll never see that money again.

I’m a nurse for life, which means I’m not going to retire. In other words, I’m going to die with my Nurse Mates on. Unfortunately, I believe that my peers are going to receive meager monthly social security checks after they retire. I know where you are heading with this question. “If the government can’t run the Social Security Administration, what makes you think that they can run a public health care system?” It’s all President Franklin Roosevelt’s fault. The social security system is the ultimate Ponzi scheme, and Roosevelt set it up as a safety net to help out old folks just before they died. The average life expectancy back when Social Security was set up was around 60 years old. President Roosevelt got messed up because he thought he we would always have more money coming in than going out. He didn’t know that our life expectancy was going to go up, and he had no idea that future administrations were going to tack on more entitlement programs. Now Roosevelt’s Ponzi scheme is out of control, not so much because of government mismanagement, but because we aren’t dying off quick enough to make the system work. Hey, wait a minute. Maybe we need to rethink those death panels. Just sayin’.

Question: Can the US government run a public health insurance agency?

Answer: Yes, I believe our government can do whatever we have the will to do. We put a man on the moon didn’t we? If those blood sucking, profit driven, insurance companies who make their money by keeping us away from healthcare providers can run insurance companies, why can the US government? Uncle Sam wants to keep us around until we’re too old to work so we can keep paying into the social security system. See above.

Question: How do you feel about politicians writing healthcare reform versus healthcare professionals?

Answer: I think that healthcare providers are in a better position to understand the lingo and the fine details that go into healthcare bills, but that doesn’t necessarily make them more trustworthy when they champion causes. The letters “MD” does not mean anything if the person lacks integrity. In my opinion, Dr Howard Dean is a man of great integrity. By the way, there are three nurses in Congress: Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), and Lois Capps (D- CA). I’ve had the honor of meeting each one of these fine ladies. They rock! Johnson and Capps support public option healthcare reform. McCarthy’s website reports that she supports H.R. 3200 – America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.

That’s it for part one. I’ll write part two later. Like I said, working at UGH has a way of getting in the way of my personal life. It’s been nice talking to you. Keep the conversation going while I’m working this weekend at UGH.

*This blog post was originally published at Nurse Ratched's Place*

Nursing Bloggers Dish About The State Of Their Profession

I was following an interesting conversation on Twitter between several nurses. They were expressing concern about how nursing stereotypes were damaging to their profession. I invited them to discuss the subject with me via podcast.I have summarized some key points below.

You can listen to the whole conversation here.

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Gina from Code Blog (6 year veteran blogger, and has spent 11 years as an ICU nurse)

Strong One from My Strong Medicine (an anonymous blogger, athletic trainer and nurse of 3 years)

Terri Polick from Nurse Ratched’s Place (has held various positions in nursing, including psychiatric nursing for 20 years)

Current Nursing Challenges:

1. Nursing Instructor Shortage – nursing instructors make about 25% of the salary of nurses who do clinical work. Therefore, there are long wait times to enter nursing school due to instructor shortages. Many students can’t afford to wait, and choose other careers.

2. Inequality of Respect – some nurses feel that they have to continually prove themselves despite their training and qualifications. Patients often express disappointment or annoyance when they see a nurse practitioner (rather than a physician) in a group practice. Some doctors still expect nurses to give up their chairs when they enter the room.

3. Nursing Stereotypes – the “naughty nurse” and “nurse Ratched” images are still very much in the forefront of peoples minds when they think of nursing as a specialty. Some people believe that nurses simply pass out pills and make coffee, when in reality they are active in complex technical procedures and saving lives. These stereotypes and misconceptions denigrate the education and technical expertise of nurses.

4. Primary Care Doesn’t Pay: nurse practitioners incur higher debt and have lower salaries than specialist nurses. Just as in the medical profession, there are no incentives for nurses to choose careers in primary care.

Strengths of Nursing:

1. Nurses Are Better And Brighter Than Ever – since getting into nursing school is so competitive, the quality of individuals who are entering nursing school has never been higher.

2. Job Flexibility – nurses can easily transition to part time work for maternity purposes. Nursing careers offer a wide variety of work experiences – from nursing home work, to cardiothoracic surgery. One license offers hundreds of various opportunities.

3. Job Satisfaction – saving lives and serving patients contribute to a sense of job satisfaction.

What can be done to improve and advance the US nursing profession?

1. Establish an Office of the National Nurse. The National Nursing Network organization is promoting this initiative. The National Nurse would act as a government spokesperson for nurses-  promoting preventive medicine, increasing awareness of nursing, and securing financial support for nurse education. He or she would be the chief nurse officer of the US public health service.

2. Do not be afraid to speak up. Nurses should feel comfortable defending their professional ideals, and discouraging stereotypes.

3. Blog to raise awareness of nursing challenges and successes.

**Listen to the podcast**

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