Letters: May 2014

What's Legal in Denver

Re: Page 21 in April AACN Bold Voices

In regard to how the availability of legalized marijuana in Colorado would affect NTI participants, I don’t think it makes a difference. If the nurse vacationed in Amsterdam and had partaken of the local custom and upon return home tested positive, it would be a positive test after [board of nursing] review.

Probably, there will be a challenge/test court case that will work its way slowly through the home state legal system. Meanwhile, the nurse, having tested positive, would quite likely suffer the consequences.

My advice would be to determine relative importance of job and career versus the short-term buzz, and then explore the local craft brewery scene. Another consideration may be who is paying for the trip? [The nurse’s] employer?.

Paul Maxwell
Posted at facebook.com/aacnface

NIWI Health Policy Internship

I had a wonderful experience at NIWI, the health policy internship for nurses sponsored by the Nursing Organizations Alliance in Washington, D.C., thanks to my AACN continuing professional development scholarship.

Please continue to send nurses to this program. It is greatly needed so nursing can have a strong, unified voice.

Tara Heagele
Hamilton, N.J.

Who Advocates for Nurses?

As nurses, we advocate for our patients. Who advocates for us?

In nursing publications I see many articles regarding patient care but few regarding the nurses’ working conditions and the decreasing compensation and benefits packages nurses receive. Healthcare is becoming increasingly business-oriented as hospitals are being bought and sold to become part of conglomerate systems.

When that happens, employees get caught in the middle. New regulations from The Joint Commission and others give nurses more and more tasks and responsibilities without regard to their effect on work flow and certainly no increase in pay. 

A great example is how articles about burnout in the emergency department present it as an acceptable working condition. Other articles criticize things nurses say or do that diminish the nurse-patient relationship.

Yet I don’t see any about how to help nurses get the time necessary to develop those relationships. I would like to see articles about legislation to improve nurses’ working conditions and how lower nurse-patient ratios lead to better outcomes and patient satisfaction scores.

Most of all, I would like to see articles about how little of a nurse’s time patients receive for each day they spend in a hospital bed.

Ray Carter
Toms River, N.J.

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Include your name, credentials, city, state and email address (for verification).

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