Cross-posting from my Tumblr:
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) > Policy & Advocacy > Get Involved > Nursing Voices Nursing Votes
Posted by: nursinggeek on 14 August 2018
I keep saying I’m going to blog on here more often, and then life happens. Getting this link in email today prompted me to at least pop in with a signal boost. I mean, it is primary day here in Connecticut, so the timing is perfect.
My students have heard me say, and I’ve probably said it on here, that I consider the statement, “I’m not political” to be a dangerous cop-out for nurses. Not knowing or paying attention to how our political system works means abandoning all responsibility and voice in shaping the policies that affect our profession.
(The same could be said more generally, but I’m focusing on nursing right now.)
Here’s a perfect example. I have a family member (in another state) who recently underwent heart surgery, followed by weeks in the ICU and two bouts of sepsis. I was relieved when they were d/c’ed to a SNF (skilled nursing facility aka rehab facility). I was horrified when the SNF d/c’ed them home still needing q4hour iv antibiotics around the clock via PICC.
For the non-nurses reading along, that means they sent him home still needing heavy-duty antibiotics every four hours around the clock, to be given through a line basically dumping right into his vena cava – right before the heart he just had surgery on that led to all this mess. At home. By their spouse, who is chronically ill themselves (thus has no business being required to get up through the night to give meds like this) and has no clinical background whatsoever.
It shouldn’t take a nurse to see how many things are wrong with this picture.
As far as I know, this is not possible in Connecticut. I’ve worked at a couple of SNFs, and “still needs iv antibiotics more than once a day” is one of the deal-killers for sending people home. A visitng nurse can do daily, or maybe even twice-daily iv meds in the home. Not every four hours. And family members can not be delegated the task. It has to be a licensed professional. Someone who’s had years of training in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and aseptic technique. I have some homework to do on exactly what is in the code to support this, because of course it’s cheaper to send people home. Always. It’s just not always safer.
My family member was glad to be home. Their spouse was glad to have them home, and reassured me, “I can get a nurse on FaceTime to talk me through it,” which gave me an even bigger potential heart attack of my own. They were lucky. No third bout of sepsis. All done with the antibiotics and life is good. They were lucky.
I don’t want to see this happening here in my state. I need to know what the code says and make sure that (in this haven for insurance companies) that if legislation is put forward that would allow this sort of dangerous practice, that nursing voices are heard and not just insurance company voices. That means calling or face-to-face talking to my state rep and state senator, which is so much easier now that I’ve done it a couple of times. I don’t agree with them on a lot of things, but when it comes to health-related issues, they’ve voted in ways I’ve advocated for. Not just because of me, but me and every other constituent who had something to say.
That’s just at the state level. There are federal-level policies that affect nursing too. So it’s important for nurses to have at least a baseline familiarity with what’s going on and how it all works.
This is where the new AACN resource comes in. It has easy-to-access information on voter registration, information on federal policy, connections to state grassroots liaisons, resources specifically for nursing faculty, resources specifically for nursing students, and more.
It is non-partisan, meaning it isn’t aligned with a particular political party. That said, it’s obviously aligned with nursing priorities. As someone who grew up with no party affiliation and a strong family background of voting issues rather than parties, I am emphatically in favor of this sort of resource.
We need to be engaged. We need to be informed. We need to be involved. Go check this out, bookmark it, and make use of it. I know I plan to.