Wednesday, December 20, 2006

In good conscience

"It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a Hospital that it should do the sick no harm." [1859] Florence Nightingale

"I think one's feelings waste themselves in words, they ought all to be distilled into actions and into actions which bring results." Florence Nightingale

“Corporations have been enthroned. An era of corruption in high places will follow and the money power will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people...until wealth is aggregated in a few hands...and the Republic is destroyed.” Abraham Lincoln

“To sin by silence when we should protest makes us cowards. Let’s have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”
Abraham Lincoln

"...I ain't blind, and I don't like what I think I see; takin' it to the streets!" Doobie Brothers

In good conscience nurses know that our healthcare system is broken; it serves corporate greed, not patient need. Over 47 million Americans have been rationed out of this market-driven system because they have no insurance; they are largely sick, poor and minorities. The rest are underinsured and have no access to preventative or restorative care and are impeded by co-pays, high deductibles, and exclusions.

As responsible citizens and professional advocates we have an ethical duty to pursue social, economic and political change to remove the barriers that interfere with our nurse-patient relationship. Nurses are frequently the first contact point for the patient in the health care system. This means that they witness the effects of human rights violations on individuals and the effects these have on families and communities.. Individual nurses can play an important role in affirming the rights of the individual patient, promoting the ethics of the nursing profession, and strengthening the social and political advocacy role of nursing in a progressive society. In particular, nurses can articulate the links between health and human rights and advocate for a single standard of competent, medically necessary physical and mental health care services for all. Nurses should continue to engage in the study of human rights and implement a rights-based approach to health care, as part of a social contract inherent in the nursing profession.

As a professional and moral imperative we must collectively take back control of our profession and defend nursing practice in order to control the delivery of health care. Knowledge is not enough and the evidence is clear that patients are suffering and dying from preventable and treatable illness or injury. It's time for direct action. Lives are at stake!


Anonymous cherry ames, jr said...

Health care covering all Americans sounds good, but how can we pay for it without raising taxes or bankrupting the US Treasury?

10:09 AM  

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