Nurses Shining Exception to Public's Dim View of Healthcare

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media , May 1, 2012

National Nurses Week kicks off on Friday, and the ANA's website includes a long list of ways organizations can celebrate. Among the ideas: holding a special celebration or reception to recognize a nurse or several nurses; placing articles in the local newspaper; inviting a politician to go to work with a nurse for a day; organizing free cholesterol or blood pressure screenings in the community; and hosting a candlelight vigil on National RN Recognition Day on May 6 in honor of nurses.

These are all great ideas. But hospitals shouldn't limit their recognition of nurses to just a single day or week. Nor should they only reach out the press or public or politicians once a year to tout the nurses working in their organization.

Endless debates about reform and the ever-widening gap between affordability and healthcare are making Americans sick of being sick. But through it all, nurses are still loved. Hospitals and other organizations should recognize that nurses are not only some of their best assets; they might also be just the kind of ambassador that this beleaguered industry needs.


Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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2 comments on "Nurses Shining Exception to Public's Dim View of Healthcare"

Jodi Gunther (5/2/2012 at 12:39 PM)
I am glad that nurses have been able to assist you and your family during your daughter's health problems. As a professional nurse however, it would be nice to be recognized for the training and skills that we bring to health care and not just the "warm fuzzies". Nursing is a complex profession requiring many hours of study and training. We are with you 24/7 at the bedside. Nurses are the ones who call the doctors to tell them about changes in a patient's condition. Just once I'd like to read an article that speaks to our education, skills, and experience, rather than those things mentioned in your article.

Steve Levine (5/2/2012 at 10:39 AM)
Hey - nurses are great. No question. (I'm married to one, and my daugher is one.) They have and continue to provide great care for patients. Indispensible. But to argue that nurses are a reputation exception in health care is wrong. Take a look at the excellent, multi-part project National Journal published this month, with great interviews based on 2011 Gallup numbers. The "medical system" is one of the few American institutions whose trust has actually INCREASED over the past decade. And, in a special part of the series about physicians, National Journal reports, "Gallup, which has polled on public trust in professionals every year since 1976, reports high and rising marks for doctors. In the latest survey, from 2011, 70 percent of respondents rated medical doctors as high or very high when asked about their "honesty and ethical standards," a record. When the Kaiser Family Foundation asked Americans whom they trusted in 2009[INVALID]the height of the debate over the health care law[INVALID]78 percent said they believed that their doctors put patients' interests ahead of their own." Check it out.




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