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It's high time for nurses' input, poll suggests

January 20, 2010 |  1:09 pm

Nurses When it comes to reducing medical errors, controlling costs and just making a better healthcare system in general, the nation's "opinion leaders" want to hear from people on the front lines -- and the voices of nurses, they say, are particularly hard to hear.

Such are the findings of a new poll conducted by Gallup for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The executive summary states: "Respondents view nurses as a trusted source of information and as having a great deal of influence over key elements included in healthcare reform. But opinion leaders do not see nurses as having a great deal of influence on healthcare reform. Still, opinion leaders would like to see this change. Among nine areas of healthcare systems and services tested, the desire to see nursing influence increased ranged from 90% for reducing medical errors and improving patient safety to 72% for helping the healthcare system adapt to an increasingly ethnically, racially, and culturally diverse population."

Here's more information on the survey, and the full report, "Nursing Leadership From Bedside to Boardroom: Opinion Leaders' Perceptions."

"Thought leaders" from universities, the insurance industry, government and elsewhere were queried for this report. But even non-thought-leaders -- you know, we members of the public -- would likely say the same thing. 

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: Nurses transfer a patient at the Kaiser Permanente's hospital on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. They see much. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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Comments (1)

Nurses should not only be in the opinion poll we need to be front and center in the healthcare reform movement.

Healthcare Reform as it exists now could be called Healthcare Finance Reform. As a nation we spend nearly 100 billion dollars per year treating medical errors. (enough money to give nearly every American access to adequate healthcare)

If we could stop medical errors we would have healthcare finance reform and we would improve the quality of care for every patient.

And nurses are present when many errors occur and have a responsibility to the public to share what we know. It is estimated that every third medication given in most hospitals is given in error, those errors cost money and they cost patients their lives.

Additionally nurses in many instances, know when a patient is consenting to a test or procedure that is not safe or indicated but because we are sometimes powerless to protect our patients we are sometimes silent and patients are left uneducated and unprotected and they get hurt.

If nurses were made more aware of their roles in reforming healthcare through patient advocacy and patient safety nurses could play a huge part in healthcare reform. I

t fact it is my opinion there can be no healthcare reform with the involvement of nurses, who also happen to be the largest group of healthcare workers, we must me in all surveys and present at all discussions about healthcare reform if there is to be any reform.

Lynn R. Parker, RN, NP, Patient Advocate and Author of:

What Did the Doctor Just Say? How to Understand What Your Doctor Is Saying and Prevent Medical Errors From Happening to You and Your Loved Ones

Twitter: IHavetheAnswers

Facebook: What Did the Doctor Just Say?


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