“Kindness”, by Dr. Mike Grossman! Lots of helpful wisdom in this nurse leader’s book!

“Kindness” is a ten chapter book that is rich with stories, exercises, inspiring quotes, philosophy, some wonderful poems, and supportive research!  There is a great bibliography too!

I believe that Dr. Grossman’s work can speak to us about kindness on many levels. As nurses, humans, and leaders and with our many perspectives individually, socially, and organizationally.  Especially, in today’s politically polarized climate, where many feel disconnected, afraid, and mistrusting, this book has much needed and healing messages.

I suspect that different readers will find each of these of different value and that the author is providing a little something for everyone.  I especially enjoyed some of Mike’s philosophical discussions about the meaning of life and how kindness fits in, his stories weaving in his nursing work and lessons, and his reverential references to Mother Theresa and Ram Dass.

The author is committed to humanity and his mission to spread kindness is clear! The book helps us to discover the joy in it, the challenges we might face in doing so, the importance of being kind to ourselves and much more.  There’s even a chapter called “The Secret World of Men Choosing Kindness”!

I enjoyed reading and learning “Kindness” and encourage others to check it out.



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Whistleblower Doc Needs Our Help!

I believe there are times in our lives where we simply can’t step away from the challenge placed in front of us. I did that in confronting dangerously deficient mental health care of post-combat Marines and Sailors seeking help with PTSD at Camp Lejeune. And due to the ensuing retaliatory career sabotage, I was compelled to do that to challenge the unwarranted interruption of my career. Because I’ve learned that if you don’t challenge these abuses of power, these agencies will continue to harm others with impunity. –Kernan Manion, MD

Advocating for patients — sometimes against difficult, invisible, and powerful forces — is something nurses do every day. Whether we’re speaking up for one patient in danger, a concern about an individual or organizational behavior that is causing harm, or inadequate staffing that impacts all patients, our voices are essential. Sometimes we save lives, and sometimes we’re reprimanded — or worse, we lose our jobs.  (See American Nurse Today, When nurses speak up, they pay a price by Leah Curtain, RN, MA, MS, ScD(h), FAAN.)

Physicians also face adversarial powers when advocating for patients. One such doctor is Kernan Manion (quoted above), a psychiatrist with whom I’ve had truly respectful and collaborative conversations about Medical Improv. I want to share his story for two reasons: first, to help spread the word about his battle with the medical system when he spoke up for his active duty military patients, and second, because I believe that when nurses and doctors are working fiercely together on behalf of patients, we make a formidable team!

Here are some highlights of Dr. Manion’s story with links to more detailed information and his fundraising campaign to help continue his fight:

  • In 2009, working as a civilian psychiatrist at the Deployment Health Center of a large active duty military base, Dr. Manion raised issues pertaining to critical deficiencies in the mental health care program providing care to service members returning from combat.
  • Dr. Manion warned officials at Military Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina that unless they dramatically improved mental health services — and in particular, develop precise, rigorous protocols for handling Marines who might kill themselves or others — there would be deadly consequences.
  • He was terminated immediately.
  • A year later, one of Manion’s patients, Marine Sgt. Tom Bagosy who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, pulled over on a busy thoroughfare in N.C. shot himself.  Minutes later he became another statistic in the steadily escalating suicide rate of the military. (See: A predictable suicide at Camp LeJeune)
  • Over the last several years Dr. Manion has pursued his concerns with the N.C. Medical Board, N.C. Physicians Health Program, and N.C.Medical Society, and ultimately the judicial system. He has been subjected to mental health evaluations,  deprived of his medical license, and denied his right to due process.
  • Now, after a prolonged legal ordeal, his case is being considered by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals while his legal expenses have exhausted his resources. To continue his fight, he has created a (GoFundMe) project which includes much more detail of his story.

How can we help?

There are three ways that we can help this psychiatrist while taking a stand on the importance of comprehensive mental healthcare for our soldiers returning from combat. First, read up on his story; second, consider making a donation to his campaign; and third, share his story with your colleagues.  

Nurses are the largest percentage of the healthcare workforce, and a show of our collective power could make a huge difference in this important whistleblower case.  


Posted in Communication in Healthcare, Complexity in nursing, Diversity, Healthy Workplaces, In the News, Patient Advocacy, Patient Safety | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What Nurses are Saying re: Trump’s American Health Care Act

Most nurses and doctors I know want to provide care not play games with insurance companies!

The American Nurse Association (ANA) is speaking out about the latest political healthcare policy, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) provided by the Trump administration.  In a statement released 3/8/17; the ANA reports that the AHCA, “…as a whole does NOT ensure that the U.S. health care system meets American Nurse Association’s (ANA) core principles”!

In short,

  • The AHCA plan does NOT ensure: “…universal access to a standard package of essential health benefits for all citizens and residents.”
  • The AHCA plan does NOT ensure: “…utilization of primary, community-based and preventative services while supporting the cost-effective use of innovative, technology-driven, acute, hospital-based services.”
  • The AHCA plan does NOT ensure: “…the economical use of health care services with support for those who do not have the means to share in costs.”
  • The AHCA plan does NOT ensure: “…a sufficient supply of a skilled workforce dedicated to providing high quality health care services.”

Details about the ANA position are here.

In my opinion, as an RN w/ over 30 years experience, we need to build a Single Payer system where the priority IS on providing care! Not making money.  Not fighting with insurance companies for coverage.  Not wading through the fine print in a slick partisan policy book.  Not playing games with people’s lives.

Posted in Communication in Healthcare, Complexity in nursing, Democracy NOW, Healthy Workplaces, Nurse Leadership, Patient Advocacy, Patient Safety, Single Payer | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment