After reading with interest the abundance of articles and letters on the Nursing Shortage Topic, I became disillusioned recognizing how few of the recommended solutions have been implemented. This compelled me to write from a different perspective. Enough whining!
I have been a nurse for 15 years and am now working to complete my BSN online. It is my belief that it does nothing to continue to restate what obviously needs to be done to address the nursing shortage. Rather we as nurses need to take action. Nurses do a disservice to our profession by portraying a "poor me" attitude. What we need is to work together in a positive way, becoming change agents who will turn around this nursing shortage. We need to become knowledgeable about the issues affecting the shortage, learn the names and contact information of our legislators at the national and state levels, and contact our legislators with our solutions.
Advances in technology have given nurses access to the Internet which allows us to locate information related to the nursing shortage while sitting in our own homes. We can, therefore, learn about these issues and adeptly state our concerns and solutions in Washington and in our respective state capitals.
One piece of legislation, the Nurse Reinvestment Act (NRA) designed to alleviate the nursing shortage, has, with significant support from the American Nurses Association (ANA) and nurses across the nation, already been passed. Articles on the NRA have been posted in the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing (OJIN) (Glazer, Doheny, & Geolot, 2004) and (Donley et al., 2002). Helpful information on the ANA website, NursingWorld, includes www.anapoliticalpower.org, a site that encapsulates the issues and explains how to correctly contact one’s congressperson and become one voice among thousands of united RNs, and the OJIN Nursing Shortage topic. OJIN and NursingWorld should be commended for posting items that educate nurses on these real issues and describe how these issues affect the way we practice. Other online sites that inform us about the nursing shortage include: The National League for Nursing www.nln.org, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing www.aacn.org, and Specialty Organizations www.aspan.org/PosStmts10.htm. I encourage all nurses to access these valuable sites, learn the issues, and work together to shoulder the responsibility of addressing the current and projected nursing shortages by advocating for these proposed solutions with our respective legislative representatives.
Learning the facts and sharing our solutions in a business-like manner with our legislative representatives will empower us as nurses and cause the public to take notice of the seriousness of our issues. Health care is one of the largest businesses in our country. Nurses know the problems and can solve the problems. Let’s stand united, start from the top, and work together in a professional manner to solve the nursing shortage.
Thank you for allowing me to express my opinion,
Joanne V. Franke, RN, AND
BSN Student, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Cary, North Carolina
Donley, R., Flaherty, M.J., Sarsfield, E., Taylor, L., Maloni, H., & Flanagan, E. (2002). The nursing shortage: What does the nurse reinvestment act mean to you? Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Available: www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Volume82003/No1Jan2003/ArticlesPreviousTopics/NurseReinvestmentAct.aspx
Glazer, G., Doheny, M., & Geolot, D. (2004). Nurse reinvestment act: Implications for the nursing profession. Discussion with Denise Geolot. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 8(1). Available: www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/Columns/Legislative/ReinvestmentActDiscussion.aspx