National Nurses United

National Nurse Magazine September 2010

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TOC_Sept 10/5/10 4:17 PM Page 2 Letter from the Council of Presidents as a profession of predominantly women, women's history is of critical importance to us to better understand where we've been and where we have to go. So as Nov. 2, Election Day, quickly approaches, it's never been a better time to revisit how women in the United States won the right to vote. We say "won," because the vote was not given to women. They had to demand it and fight for it— sometimes enduring physical abuse and violence—by marching in the streets, picketing the White House, publishing newspapers, serving jail time, and organizing, organizing, organizing. Women finally won the franchise in 1920, a mere 90 years ago. Did you know that many nurses were activists in the women's suffrage movement? Yes, public health nurses such as Lillian Wald and nursing education pioneer Lavinia Dock understood that to improve the larger health of their patients and communities, they needed to change conditions on a societal level by having a say at the ballot box. Their example and wisdom holds as much truth today as it did then. Today, most people shamefully take their right to vote for granted. In California, they have a female, billionaire candidate for governor who has openly admitted she has not voted for almost her entire adult life. And who among us has not gotten off shift at 7 p.m., dead tired, and wondered whether we really needed to rush home in order to make it to our polling station by 8? But failing to vote would not only disgrace the legacy of nurses and suffragists, it would also hurt us and our patients. NATIONAL NURSE,™ (ISSN pending) The Voice of National Nurses United, September 2010 Volume 106/7 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 combined issues How can we complain about understaffing, ED overcrowding, the uninsurance rate, and the hostility toward unions in this country if we can't even be bothered to vote to change these conditions? As nurses, we need to not only fulfill our civic responsibility by voting, we need to actively champion candidates who represent our interests. The public trusts registered nurses and our opinion for good reason. We vow to be their advocates, and that applies at the ballot box as well as the bedside. Their faith gives us enormous power to influence elections; we must live up to that promise. See inside this issue for NNU's endorsements of candidates nurses can be proud to support, coverage of this year's mid-term election races, and our Aug. 26 events honoring women's suffrage. In other news, we are delighted to announce that nearly 600 Kansas City RNs at Research Medical Center voted by a landslide to join NNU, growing the numbers of RNs we represent at the giant hospital chain HCA. We look forward to building this RN movement with their help. And Veterans Affairs RNs in August, Ga. are finding their voice to protest chronic understaffing. They staged their first-ever picket in front of their hospital and gave administration a wake-up call louder than any reveille we're sure it has ever heard. Also in this issue, you can find the first of an occasional series we plan to run featuring essays by nurses about how and why they became RNs, and what nurses' values mean to them. We start off this month with DeAnn McEwen, an ICU RN from California and a member of the CNA Council of Presidents. Remember, this November, vote nurses' values, and tell your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors to do the same. Deborah Burger, RN | Karen Higgins, RN | Jean Ross, RN National Nurses United Council of Presidents 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. 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 Rose Ann 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, Lauren Reid

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