Mailbox: Nurses' voices and opinions

September 1, 2009

Nurse manager offers praise for August 2009 RN bullying feature; retired nursing instructor links nursing shortage with lack of preventive care in the U.S. healthcare system; our August 2009 Reflections piece reminds a nurse of her own training in keeping patient care her primary focus.

Vigilance in fighting bullying

I APPRECIATED THE ARTICLE "Reversing a bullying culture" by Lynda Olender-Russo, PhD(c), MA, NEA-BC, RN (RN, August 2009). Often, I am appreciative of articles, though am rarely inspired to respond to them in writing. However, this is a subject I am concerned with in my own career; just had never put a title to it. Bullying!

I am an assistant nursing director of a 25-bed surgical intensive care unit. Our hospital is approximately 500 beds in southwestern Missouri. I've been a nurse for 25 years, but a manager for only one year. I am proud to work for a Sisters of Mercy hospital and feel strongly that the Mercy standards and values, and the vision and mission statement of the institution, are the best way to live. Our job would be so much more satisfying if we could convince employees to work toward that end.

I know I must be vigilant and not give up the attempt to create a right, safe environment for coworkers and patients alike. Thank you for the encouraging article.

Alice Stroup, RN, CCRN
Springfield, MO

I READ THE ARTICLE "Reversing a bullying culture" (RN, August 2009). I found the statistics about the shortage of RNs very telling about our US healthcare system. The other component in the article that could have been expanded upon is "the difficult patient situations" that contribute to bullying and incivility in the workplace. Why are we not training sufficient healthcare workers, or meeting the needs of our patients?

Some patients are slipping through the cracks and receiving fragmented care without preventive services-often overmedicated, which further complicates their signs and systems, and with their primary diseases not being healed. Then their finances are stressed to pay for their faulty care.

We are in a battle to deliver comprehensive healthcare to all Americans, but until our healthcare system changes to include continuous preventive care by adequate numbers of providers with a holistic approach, the patient dissatisfaction that causes difficult patient situations will continue. The hands of healthcare workers are tied, and we are bullied and treated with incivility by our clients.

Look honestly at the healthcare of countries such as Canada or what is called a third-world country, Cuba, and compare how they staff and compare their statistics in areas of maternal and infant death rates, violence among its citizens, average age of death, etc.

Personally, I find it difficult to nurse others who do not have the same access to the education and other services that I have to maintain my health. No wonder my clients become difficult with me.

Healthcare should not be a purchased item whose quality depend on your ability to pay, but a basic human right!

Nora Gallardo, RN, MS
Retired NYC Board of Education Teacher of Nursing
Wallkill, NY
Received via e-mail

I WOULD LIKE TO ADD A NOTE as an older nurse about Rita Bergevin's article ("What real nurses do," Reflections on Caring, RN, August 2009). When I was a student nurse at the University of South Carolina in the '60s, there was a movie we watched called Mrs. Reynolds Needs a Nurse. It fit right into what the student discovered-the personhood of patients and the importance of looking beyond the complaints to the root cause. I have used this in the past with CNAs, but I wish it was on DVD and updated to reflect today.

I also think that we, at any station of our careers, should not ever be too good to answer a call light and meet a patient's need. We are a team, and we have to remember that our CNAs have quite a few patients to do vital signs and total or partial care for. There are more demands on nurses and CNAs, and achieving outcomes that benefit the patient should be our goal, not the "it's your job, not mine" mindset.

Evelyn F. Mickle, RN, BSN, RNC
Opelika, AL
Received via e-mail

I AM WRITING ON BEHALF of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, which represents more than 132,000 medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals. One of our members drew our attention to your article titled "Imaging tips for overweight and obese patients" by Valerie Grossman, RN, BSN (RN, April 2009). While the article contains valuable information, it uses the term "technician" to refer to the individuals who perform medical imaging examinations. "Technician" is an outdated term in our profession. You may instead use "radiologic technologist."

I'm sure your publication and the article's author meant no offense. However, the ASRT and the majority of US radiologic technologists find the older term to be inaccurate because it does not reflect the educational level and qualifications of individuals in the profession.

Ceela McElveny
Chief Communications and Governance Officer
American Society of Radiologic Technologists
Albuquerque, NM
Received via e-mail

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