Thursday, April 30, 2020
Corona Pandemic Hits the Nursing Culture Reset Button
A few days ago, I passed by a nearly empty hospital parking lot. The ER entrance was backed up into the street with all sorts of emergency vehicles so there was no shortage of patients. Sirens screamed in the background and the place was hopping.
The lonely vehicles present in the parking lot were of the Ford Focus or Toyota Corolla permutation. It wasn't too hard to deduce where the BMWs and Infinitis with their nursing themed vanity license plates had gone. The self proclaimed elite members of the nursing academic/administrative office sitter complex were holed up in their fancy abodes while a dedicated contingent of bedside nurses were slogging it out in a challenging environment with a crude hodge-podge assemblage of personal protective equipment.
The righteousness of the busy body administrators at the top of the nursing administration pyramid looks especially iffy when lowly bedside nurses lack even the most basic equipment for safe patient care. Bedside nursing is a tough, often thankless undertaking and a lack of support from above for necessary equipment exacerbates the misery. Bedside nurses have a long history of facing insurmountable difficulties. Florence Nightengale lasted only 3 years at the bedside.
In years past, charity hospitals with no concern for personal financial gain were the institutions that sanctioned and preserved nursing culture. No patient was ever asked for an insurance card or copay. Everyone was welcome and eligible for care rendered out of kindness without a preoccupation with remuneration or the bottom line on a spread sheet. There was a strong feeling that we were all in it together for a greater good.
Money is the sand in the gearbox of healthcare today and the end result is a public health meltdown. Reimbursement for heroic, expensive procedures without improvement in patient outcomes grease the skids in hospitals of today. This one for all and all for one approach does not meet the needs of a population that is threatened by a pandemic.
It's no wonder countries with readily available healthcare not dependent on an individual's wealth or yoked to employment are doing so much better. You cannot buy your way out of a pandemic with profit centered care. In the land of the free and the home of the brave we do have the very best healthcare money can buy and it's proving to be lacking. Folks here are lucky if they can even get tested for corona virus.
Nursing is about to change and nobody is sure of the "how," but people in crisis help each other. Caring for those near us begins widening the care net for others. Maybe the nurse office sitters will emerge from behind their computers and help others because it's the right thing to do. Experienced nurse "rockstars" will rejoin the band and help young nurses at the bedside instead of soaking funds from a vulnerable group of nurslings for overpriced video courses. Nursing is not about being an Instagram influencer or money changing hands. It's about helping others without concern for self.
Just maybe the pandemic will transform nurse entrepreneurialism with it's inner impulses geared for money grubbing and influencer prestige to more charitable values delineating our nursing lives - duty and responsibility to our patients. Preoccupation with over indulgent, extravagant, nurse "self care" be damned. We were meant to suffer along with our patients. Oh..and don't let me forget, sometimes at the hands of our patients.https://oldfoolrn.blogspot.com/2015/08/knock-out-punch.html