Is Respecting the Complexity of RN Work an Inconvenient Truth?

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I already had a BS in Biochemistry when I began nursing school in my twenties.  And, I was shocked to find out how rigorous my Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) program was.   Then I got my first job at a big teaching hospital.  The work we do is way more complicated than I ever dreamed.

If healthcare leaders,  consumers,  and perhaps even nurses themselves recognized how complicated and highly skilled the work of nurses is  there would be better staffing ratios, healthier work schedules, more reasonable workloads, quieter workplaces, healthier nurses and safer patients!  Yet in the short term, it would cost more.  Hmmmmm.   But wouldn’t we save money w/ less lawsuits, wasted resources, work related injuries and illnesses if we supported the nurses and work we/they do?

In today’s post I’d like to recognize two nurse leaders who are working to raise awareness about the complexity of nursing and how this is associated with patient safety.

200_pat_ebright0First, Associate Dean and Associate Professor at Indiana University School of Nursing, Patricia Ebright, PhD, CNS, RN, FAAN shared this quote for the youtube:  Interruption Awareness:  A Nursing Minute for Patient Safety, released a year ago:

“A commitment to understanding and appreciating the complexity of RN work is needed to guide the more substantive and sustained improvements required to achieve patient safety and quality”.  Dr. Ebright’s article, Understanding the Complex Work of RNs and youtubes are invaluable contributions to raising awareness about the sophisticated, complex, and technical thinking going on in the seasoned RN’s head!  Thank you Patricia Ebright for your work!

And second Sandy Summers in her organization’s work in revealing “The Truth about Nursing”.  This organization does a lot of vital work in raising awareness about and opposing instances of nursing degraded in the media.  Here’s a recent fundraising letter from Sandy that helps to describe her work in educating consumers and healthcare professionals not to mention TV producers:

Why does helping people understand nursing matter?

sandy_2008_135“When people think nursing is unskilled work, or that nurses exist to serve physicians, then nurses have a tough time getting the resources they need to provide good nursing care. Nurses are spread too thinly because many have been replaced by lesser-educated workers who can’t assess or intervene as nurses can. Decision-makers believe that non-nurses can perform nursing work because they do not understand the nature or value of nursing. That leads to poor care–and sadly, even death.

Please donate now

The Truth About Nursing fights this deadly lack of understanding. Decision-makers get these wrong ideas from many sources, but especially by watching, reading and listening to the omnipresent media. The media constantly tells us that physicians are the only health professionals whose work matters…”   

Confident Voices thanks Pat and Sandy for their pioneering efforts to raise awareness about the value of RN work!  What thoughts do you have?

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2 Responses to Is Respecting the Complexity of RN Work an Inconvenient Truth?

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