National Nurses United

National Nurse Magazine March 2012

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Letter from the Council of Presidents what is so special about the age of 65 that our country has decided that everybody 65 and older gets governmentsponsored Medicare, while everyone else is thrown to the wolves of health insurance corporations? As nurses know, absolutely nothing. The age of 65 is just a number that legislators agreed upon when they created the Medicare program back in 1965. As we all know, 64-year-olds need healthcare as much as 65-year-olds, as do babies, 20-year-olds, and 40- and 50year-olds. If Medicare were actually extended to every American, regardless of age, this country could do such a better job of taking care of the health of its people. For one thing, women like Maurelle Wyeth wouldn���t have had to skip three years of mammograms, which wouldn���t have given her breast cancer three years to grow. Wyeth, a 58-year-old from Oregon, couldn���t afford mammograms after she lost her health insurance in 2003, so she did without. Three years later, she found a big lump. Luckily, she qualified for treatment as a low-income person through Medicaid, but the cancer appears to have spread to her liver. She doesn���t understand why, as a developed nation, we don���t just provide healthcare for all. She knows she would have gotten a mammogram earlier, her cancer would have been caught earlier, everything would have cost much less, and very likely, the cancer would not have had a chance to spread. Stories like hers underscore why improving and expanding NATIONAL NURSE,��� (ISSN 2153-0386 print/ISSN 2153-0394 online) The Voice of National Nurses United, March 2012 Volume 108/2 is published by National Nurses United, 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. It provides news of organizational activities and reports on developments of concern to all registered nurses across the nation. It also carries general coverage and commentary on matters of nursing practice, community and public health, and healthcare policy. It is published monthly except for Medicare for all is such an important part of our work as nurses and as the country���s leading nursing organization and union. Please take the time to read about and reflect upon her situation. And if you have a story you would like to share, please tell it to us at Also in this issue, our Veterans Affairs nurses sound the alarm about a dangerous new directive that poses a huge risk to the safety of our nation���s heroes and encroachment upon the RN scope of practice: The VA wants to allow unlicensed assistive personnel (UAPs) to administer a wide variety of medications, including vaccinations and injections. As nurses know, giving any kind of medication requires clinical judgment that an unlicensed person does not have. VA nurses are organizing against this policy. There���s lots of other important news and materials in this issue, including a critical union election victory in California, defeat of a union-busting bill by Minnesota nurses, and the final segment of a workplace violence continuing education home study course. So we���ll let you get to it. And if you���re in Chicago on May 18, join us in a rally to call for a Robin Hood tax on Wall Street. See our website,, for details. Deborah Burger, RN | Karen Higgins, RN | Jean Ross, RN National Nurses United Council of Presidents combined issues in January and February, and July and August. Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, California. POSTMASTER: send address changes to National Nurse, 2000 ��� Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. To send a media release or announcement, fax (510) 663-0629. National Nurse��� is carried on the NNU website at For permission to reprint articles, write to Editorial Office. To subscribe, send $40 ($45 foreign) to Subscription Department. Stay connected TWITTER: @RNmagazine, @NationalNurses YOUTUBE: FACEBOOK: FLICKR: Please contact us with your story ideas They can be about practice or management trends you���ve observed, or simply something new you���ve encountered in the profession. They can be about one nurse, unit, or hospital, or about the wider landscape of healthcare policy from an RN���s perspective. They can be humorous, or a matter of life and death. If you���re a writer and would like to contribute an article, please let us know. You can reach us at EXECUTIVE EDITOR RoseAnn DeMoro EDITOR Lucia Hwang GRAPHIC DESIGN Jonathan Wieder COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Charles Idelson CONTRIBUTORS Gerard Brogan, RN, Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD, Jan Rabbers, Donna Smith, David Schildmeier, Ann Kettering Sincox PHOTOGRAPHY Jaclyn Higgs, Tad Keyes

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