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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