WANTED: NURSE ACTIVISTS

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This past year, widespread American activism has awakened from a period of “relative slumber” to a loud roar. We are a polarized nation and no matter where you fit across the spectrum of far left, left, centralist, right or far right you are probably more aware than ever that you DO FIT somewhere.

Over matters ranging from national security to budget allocation subsidies for hog farmers, crowds are marching, using social media, supporting and/or objecting to issues important to them. Healthcare is at or near the top of the list, yet paradoxically, nurse activists have been, at best, rarely cited in the media and, for the most part, are largely invisible. Where are the nurse activists? Where are you?

Often you hear the term, “nurse advocate”. It is a good descriptive for those few nurses truly engaged in their professional organization, such as ASNA. Of the more than 90,000 nurses in Alabama, less than 2% are members of their professional organization. In contrast, more than 55% of MDs are members of their PO. Florence would be horrified!

To relate to today’s politically “charged” culture, perhaps we should drop the term “nurse advocate” and use the term “nurse activist” instead. Sounds exciting!

What does a nurse activist look like?

  1. An activist understands the power of a group.
  2. An activist is passionate about things that are wrong or right.
  3. An activist MAKES time to be an activist. (Even with a 10 sec. tweet or FB post)
  4. An activist gets instant gratification for standing up and speaking out.
  5. Most activists are young, a little apprehensive, but energized by the passion of others.

Nurses have the status of “Most Trusted Profession” in the public mind and they are the largest work force in healthcare! That’s why the powers that control healthcare dollars don’t want you to become an activist. They fear that if 3.5 million nurses WAKE UP and become activists that a “moral imperative” might overcome the “almighty dollar” as the top priority in developing systems of care (a false assumption, as nurse leaders are smart business people too).

The bottom line

For your patients’ sake, become an activist. Lock arms with fellow nurses of all specialties to impact the status quo, benefit your career and help patients all at the same time. Channel your love for people, your anger, and your dreams of how much better the system can be into becoming a nurse activist. Patient care will be optimized, you’ll be proud of yourself, and you can be Florence Nightingale would be proud of you too.

If you’d like to become an advocate with us, click here.