National Nurses United

National Nurse Magazine June 2010

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Letter from the Council of Presidents close to half of all unmarried women over 65 rely on Social Security for 90 percent of their income. That's just one of the compelling statistics that came to light while National Nurse was reporting this month's feature story on one of the country's most beloved social programs. Social Security has long been taken for granted by many of us who assumed that, having contributed to the fund for years, we would be able to reap its benefits when it came time to retire. But as writer Carl Bloice explains, the program—along with its equally popular cousin, Medicare—is under fierce attack by Wall Street and its representatives in Congress, who want to cut benefits and raise the retirement age, putting future senior citizens in jeopardy. It's a scary thought. And it will be up to nurses, who understand the importance of Social Security and Medicare, to lead the fight to defend them. The campaign is one more reminder of how critical it is that RNs become involved politically on issues that affect us and our patients. One Michigan nurse has taken that message to heart this year, and has launched a grassroots campaign to represent his community in the state legislature. Scott Nesbit, RN says he was inspired to run for office after becoming involved in his union, the Michigan Nurses Association, and realizing he wanted to speak up for other nurses and working people. You can read about his campaign in the news section. Michigan isn't the only place nurses are getting active in politics and policy. Members of the Massachusetts Nurses NATIONAL NURSE,™ (ISSN pending) The Voice of National Nurses United, June 2010 Volume 106/5 is published by National Nurses United, 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 946122908. 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 Association saw the fruits of their labor this month when their governor signed into law an MNA-sponsored measure that will help decrease workplace assaults against nurses. And in California, nurses of all political stripes are giving a lesson in civics to Meg Whitman, the billionaire former eBay CEO who has not regularly voted for much of her adult life and now wants to become governor. Nurses have continued to be the most outspoken opponents to Whitman's plans to cut thousands of state jobs and weaken key regulations that protect the public health. One of the most exciting things about the California governor's race is the way that nurses have come together across party lines to fight on behalf of their patients. "This doesn't have anything to do with my political party, it's about me as a nurse," one longtime Republican RN who opposes Whitman said at a recent rally. "That's what I am first." As we wrap up the primary season and move towards the general election in November, we urge all RNs to take a stand in support of candidates and measures that are pro patient, and against those who seek to undermine our profession—whether that means helping lead a campaign or simply having a conversation with a coworker. When it comes to making a difference on the political stage, nurses' voices really do matter. Together, we can move mountains. 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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