Nurses work without question


To the Editor:

By the time this letter appears in the paper, Election Day will be a done deal. Everyone who wins, wins, and the rest is just history. I have been a strong supporter of Yes on Question 1. I have been an R.N. for 39 years, and Question 1 was the opportunity for us to actually have a voice in the decision-making process to provide much safer patient care.

Those who so aggressively supported a no vote have, literally, no idea what being a bedside clinical nurse means. And that, misleading the public, is criminal. There is not a day that any one of the clinical nurses who report to work, is given the opportunity to refuse patient assignments. That would be met, almost immediately, with disciplinary action. So for those of you who don’t really understand this, it means we come in, find out that we have five patients, no nurse’s aide (not an uncommon occurrence), and start the day already late with anything we have to do, because we are responsible for everything.

Commonly, on a daily basis, even in the best circumstances, there are many hurdles to thwart our efforts to deliver care. There is nothing straightforward about our shifts. It’s insane to think that the nurse who works nights is merely sitting for sleeping patients. The assignments are usually heavier, and with far less people around to help, sometimes beyond stressful. These are not feelings we would, as clinical, bedside providers, EVER convey to any patient or family member, and yet the ads that were put out there were so demeaning to nursing. They unnecessarily freightened the public, and used patients to implore the public to vote no because it would mean that we would leave their families out on the street. Pure rubbish. The claims by board members, et al., that they are so proud of us are disingenuous. It’s simply about the bottom line. Isn’t everything? Nurses will continue to take care of our patients, and continue to carry the hospitals on our backs. We are, despite what you read, undervalued.

Donna Stiles Enos, R.N.