Friday, January 29, 2010

An Open Letter to Mrs. Michelle Obama

Dear Mrs. Obama,

As nurses, we were thrilled when the President announced during his State of the Union speech that you will be spearheading a comprehensive program to reduce childhood obesity. As you well know this is one of the fastest rising epidemics in our country.

If we are indeed to make a difference and truly reform health care, then one of the most important steps we can take is to be proactive and prevent illness and complications. A large portion of skyrocketing health care costs can be attributed to paying for complications of preventable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Obesity plays a huge role in these diseases and complications.

In the process of educating children about preventing and reducing obesity, families will also become involved, which will have an added benefit of reducing another epidemic; adult obesity. This too will help to reduce the high costs of health care.

Nurses are the perfect messengers to help your campaign educate the children and adults about this very serious health problem. The American Nurses Association has chosen as the 2010 Nurses Week theme, Nurses: Caring Today for a Healthier Tomorrow. Engaging nurses as a partner in this program is a natural in promoting health awareness and reducing disparities. Health care illiteracy is a tremendous problem in this country and nurses know how to work with this and promote wellness.

An annual Gallup Poll has shown repeatedly that the American public feels nurse are the most trusted and ethical profession. In fact, in the last decade, nurses were only toppled from this position once by the very deserving firefighters in 2001 following 9/11.

Another poll recently conducted by Gallup in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that next to doctors, nurses are the most trusted profession in conveying health care information. In fact, this poll also showed that the American people want to hear even more from nurses about health care issues and reform.

As you reach out to government agencies to enlist their help in this effort, nurses should be high on your list. We hope you will look to one of the most important grassroots efforts trying to bring nurses into a more prominent national public health care role, the National Nursing Network Organization (NNNO).

Among so many important challenges facing nurses and health care today, an Office of the National Nurse would:
  • Elevate the Chief Nurse Officer (CNO) of the US Public Health Service to full time status within the Office of the Surgeon General to become the National Nurse to enhance prevention efforts in all communities.
  • Complement the work of the US Surgeon General.
  • Promote involvement in the Medical Reserve Corps to improve the health and safety of the community.
  • Incorporate proven evidence-based public health education when delivering prevention.

As President Obama said during his campaign, “change doesn’t come from the top, it comes from ordinary Americans with vision and ideas.” The Office of a National Nurse began as an idea and a vision of Teri Mills MS, CNE, RN in an op-ed in the New York Times in May of 2005.

In 2006, Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), herself a BSN RN, introduced HR4903 to the 109th Congress to establish the Office of a National Nurse. Today the NNNO, continues this grassroots effort to establish an Office of the National Nurse to promote health care literacy, wellness and slow growing epidemics of preventable diseases and conditions such as childhood obesity.

Members of the NNNO will travel once again to Washington DC March 24-26, 2010 to discuss this issue with members of Congress. It would be wonderful if they could also meet with you to discuss partnering with you on fighting childhood obesity. To contact the President, of the NNNO, please email Teri Mills at

Thank you for undertaking the challenge of reducing childhood obesity and elevating this issue to national attention.


Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN

You may copy and paste the above letter into your own email to The White House or letter to Mrs. Obama and add your name below mine.


Mail to:

Mrs. Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20500

or FAX
White House FAX number: 202.456.2461

Nurses: Americans Want to Hear Your Opinions and Honor You

Nursing is a profession that provides many opportunities for a variety of skills and passions. Nurses: Caring Today for a Healthier Tomorrow (the 2010 Nurses Week Theme) sums up some of that as nurses strive to provide quality care and patient education to people from all walks of life in many different settings and situations.

Nurses Week in the U.S. takes place each year from May 6-12. Like the profession, Nurses Week doesn't follow the typical M-F work week. This year it begins on a Thursday and ends the following Wed. May 6 is National Nurses Day. May 12 is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. You can read more about the history of Nurses Day and Nurses Week at the American Nurses Association site.

Start now to plan for events in your facility to honor your nurses. Get involved. Not all nurses are good event planners. Make something happen. It's not going to be huge raises and longer vacations for the nurses, but it can be some positive, and uplifting experiences, at least for part of a day.

Get your patients involved. They would love to have a way to say thank you for the care you give them. With a focus on health care reform, the American public recently responded to a poll by Gallup and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that they want to hear MORE from nurses about health care issues and reform. Americans trust nurses to give them the education and information they seek about their health care issues and they want more. So let them also have a chance to say thanks.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Everyone Helps in a Crisis

Remember to be careful and don't get scammed into donating money in bogus plots to help Haiti. Check out the sources and give to legitimate charities. UPS is NOT shipping for free and American Airlines is not taking nurses and doctors to Haiti for free. Reliable sources such as NPR Radio have lists of legit ways to help out.

For nurses who are not able to volunteer their services, remember that monetary donations as well as helping to cover for those who can go is just as necessary and helpful. There will be many jobs that need to be covered so that active nurses can leave their jobs for a few days or weeks to assist in Haiti.

This is just one more time to reflect on what an Office of the National Nurse could provide such as leadership and organization in summoning hose who can go and help. The California Nurses Association has been effective and instrumental, but those who don't live on the west coast don't often think about this organization as a source of information. One central office could provide resources and information as well as the ongoing training for a corps of nurse volunteers to be ready at a moment's notice.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How to Help in the Aftermath of the Earthquake in Haiti?

The earthquake in Haiti has been devastating. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their friends and families. As nurses our first instinct is always, how can we help? Here's a list of suggestions from NPR.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Call for Interviews

I received a request from a fellow nurse and freelance writer, Linda Hepler BSN, RN. (Google her she's written some excellent articles!) She's working on an article now about spring uniform fashion and needs some input from nurses who wear uniforms such as what do you look for in fit, fashion and features, etc.

I don't wear a uniform, but if I did, I know it would be about comfort and having a lot of useful pockets and probably long sleeves because I'm usually cold.

I know many of you wear the scrubs your facility provides or requires, but what would you change about them, or what do you like about them?

Please help Linda out and give her some opinions. Email her at: ltj1@centurytel (dot) net. This isn't an active link to keep down the spam. You'll have to copy and paste and replace the (dot) with a period.

Or leave comments here so she can find them. Thanks!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Time Management for Nurses

Nurses have to be organized! If you aren't, you're going to struggle and be stressed more than usual by the job no matter what field you work in, such as a hospital, clinic, home health or at a desk type job.

Most nurses are over achievers which can usually mean one of two things; they are extremely organized or entirely scattered. Most new nurses have difficulty with organization and time management skills in transitioning from students to the real world.

Time management skills are a must for nurses. I have written extensively on the subject. In my book, The Everything New Nurse Book, I devoted a whole chapter to the subject and it's a theme that runs throughout the book. For SupportForNurses, I helped write and edit the 3rd edition of Tips and Strategies for Effective Time Management for Nurses which is available for download as an E-booklet. And I recently wrote this article about time management skills for nurses. I hope you'll find these helpful if this is an area you struggle with.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Passing the NCLEX

The winter holidays are over and it's back to work and school. Hope you had a good time!

Congratulations to those of you who recently graduated from nursing school or will be doing so soon. The next step will be to pass your NCLEX exam. Here's a couple of links to some advice to help you calm your nerves and get you passed this step easily:

Tips on Answering Nursing Board Exam Questions
NCLEX Page (on The Nursing Site)

Remember, you passed and completed your education. Now you just have to show what you learned.... you'll do fine!!!