It's time for nurses to wake up. The cry for health reform is a call to nursing. It is a call to return to healing, to health, to wellness.
Florence Nightingale's mission for nurses is to help people learn how to get and stay well. It was through observing the person and their responses to treatments and making adjustments through nursing interventions that helped people get well. It was not instituting more medicine. In fact, she said, "nursing and medicine must never be mixed up. It spoils both …" "
When nursing was instituted in the hospital setting in the 1800's, more people got well. They did not heal from adding more doctors. It is through the nursing process: interaction, observation, assessment, intervention and evaluation that Florence Nightingale learned and touted her nurses to improve health outcomes. People were dying in hospitals. When nurses were introduced more people got well.
Medicine alone does not make us well. It is only in the personalization and integration of medical interventions for unique individuals that treatments can have their intended effect. Without that personalization, without the knowledgeable human-to-human interface between the nurse and the person, healing is intermittent at best. At its worst people continue to suffer and even die.
The drive for profits over the well-being of people has created a crisis in health care today. While the numbers of medications and treatments are rising at astronomical rates fewer nurses are at the bedside where they can make the healing difference.
Our health care system has forgotten the lesson that Florence Nightingale taught us decades ago. It is not more medicine that makes people well. It is the integration and personalization of treatments for unique individuals; it is nursing that makes the difference.
Research is proving over and over again that when more nurseries are at the bedside opportunities improve. It's time for nurses and nursing leaders in every institution to reclaim the professional integrity and autonomy of nursing. It is time for nurses in their primary role as advocates for patients to hear the plea for health reform as a "wake up call" to re-institute healing through the nursing process back into our health care model.
Nurses must stop being oppressed and nursing leaders must stop being marginalized by a system that has forgotten their true value. It's time to wake up, to step up, to speak out and to articulate clearly how nursing must be re-instituted in the health care process for healing outcomes to improve.
The drive for profits must not longer override the needs of people in our health care system. It is nurses, beginning with Nightingale, who have always championed this message. Patient advocacy is one of the hallmarks and missions of nursing. It is the reason we are at the top of the polls as the most trusted professionals for eleven years.
The wake-up call has been sounded by health reform. The time is now. Today's nurse is being called to advocate within health care institutions, in the legislatures, in the public forums, in the community. Today's nurse must be at the table to speak up and advocate for the people who need nurse's care.
How will you heed the call today?