Archive for May, 2009

Senator Boxer Introduces Bill to Ease Nursing Shortage

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced legislation on May 13, 2009, to help ease the nursing shortage. “We cannot guarantee high-quality care to every American without a high-quality workforce of nurses to provide it,” said Boxer. “That is why I am so proud to introduce legislation to help address our nationwide shortage of nurses. By investing in our nurses, we can help improve the quality of care in our nation’s hospitals and save lives of countless patients.”

The legislation known as the National Nursing Reform and Patient Advocacy Act (S1031), would amend the Public Health Services Act to protect the rights of nurses to advocate for patients. It would set minimum registered nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals and it would invest funds for training new nurses and nurse educators.

The bill (S1031) has been read and sent to the Committee on Health, Education, Lab and Pensions for review and sponsorship. Nurses should contact their legislators to help sponsor this bill and push the legislation through Congress.

This legislation “builds on the success of California’s historic law that set Registered nurse-to-patient ratios.”  When passed, this bill will extend those ratios to all acute and long term care hospitals across the U.S.

The specifics of the bill include provisions to improve work conditions for nurses by:

  • Establishing nurse-to-patient ratios to improve the quality of care and save lives. By doing so it is hoped that more nurses will enter and stay in the workforce.
  • Providing whistleblower protections for nurses to advocate for patients and report violations of minimal standards of care.
  • Creating a standard of care regarding lifting patients to help protect nurses from on-the-job injuries as well as promote better quality of care.

The bill also addresses funding for workforce development by creating a Registered Nurse Workforce Initiative within the Health Resources and Services Administration that would invest in the education of both nurses and nurse educators by providing grants for:

  • Nursing nursing educational assistance and living stipends for nursing students who agree to work for safety-net health care providers for a minimum of 3 years.
  • Graduate education assistance for RNs who commit to work as nurse educators at an accredited nursing school for a minimum of 5 years.
  • Training and mentorship demonstration projects.

As nurses, we know better than anyone that we are the backbone of the health care system and any health care reform must include provisions for meeting the challenges of the critical nursing shortage by improving working conditions for nurses as well as helping to grow the numbers of nurse educators so that more qualified students can enroll in nursing programs each year and become nurses.

©2009 by By Kathy Quan RN BSN. Kathy is the author of The Everything New Nurse Book and the owner/author of

Happy National Nurses Day and Nurses Week

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Nursing Specialties

Well it’s Nurses Week again. Have you gotten that huge raise you were looking for? Or a magnificent all-expenses paid vacation? Probably not. Well don’t despair. Celebrate the fact that you are a nurse and you make a difference in someone’s life everyday!

Like any other day (or week) of the year, it’s up to you to find your own rewards in your nursing career. Nursing isn’t like a lot of other professions where you often see the end result of your efforts.

Your patients are usually with you for a very short term basis and then they go back to their own lives. You don’t get to see them recover fully, or even continue to struggle with a chronic disease. If you live in the same neighborhood, you might run into them at the grocery store or local shopping mall, but that can be an awkward moment, especially with HIPAA regulations.

So it comes down to the here and now and making the most of it. Some nurses prefer settings such as the ER because they don’t want to get too attached to their patients, but they do remember some who end up there often or who stick out in their mind for one reason or another.

Some nurses love the hospice setting because they want to help patients transition from life to a peaceful, dignified death as well as to offer support to their loved ones through this unhappy time. Others love the challenges of home health care and teaching patients to assume responsibility for their own care such as post acute care needs.

Some like the ICU for its fast pace and life or death critical thinking challenges. And God love them, there are those who love the NICU where they can help the tiniest babies with a multitude of tubes and wires find a way and a will to live.

There are those who love to teach and choose to educate nurses so that they can provide the best quality care possible, or maybe become nurse educators themselves.

Some nurses prefer to work behind the scenes in fields such as research, forensics, information technology, quality assurance, or as insurance case managers. Some become life or health coaches, and long term care managers.

Nursing offers such a wide variety of specialization and caregiving opportunities. The challenges are many. The working conditions are not always pleasant or supportive. This is one of the most physically and emotionally challenging professions. But nurses are also repeatedly found to be some of the most ethical and trusted professionals.

As you take a moment in your busy day this week. Don’t grumble about how no one noticed it was Nurses Week, or maybe how they gave you some silly token gift. Pat yourself and your colleagues on the back and say Thank You for a job well done!!

Nurses are the backbone of the health care system. Take pride in who you are and the job you do everyday. Know that you matter and that someone’s life is better today because you cared. Happy Nurses Day everyday!

©2009 by All Rights Reserved. By Kathy Quan RN BSN. Kathy is the author of The Everything New Nurse Book and is the owner/author of