National Nurses United

Registered Nurse November 2008

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LETTER FROM THE COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS So you probably thought you could finally take a break now, right? After all, we nurses made history by working to elect a president who believes healthcare is a human right. We also voted in more legislators, on both the state and national levels, who support single-payer healthcare than has existed in this country in a long, long time. One of the ways we did this was by making time to do the tough work of patient education – actually talking directly to voters about the different candidates' platforms and why a system that basically improves Medicare and extends it to everyone makes the most social and economic sense for not only individuals but businesses and government. Some of us hopped on a big bus to make contact with swing state voters as it rolled through Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Check out the road trip diary in this issue for a chronicle of their experiences. Many of us got on the phones night after night to start conversations with voters looking for real solutions to their healthcare worries. And even more went out and knocked on doors, along the way hearing way too many stories of healthcare crisis. But we have to finish what we started. And guess what? The battle is just beginning. We believe that this president and Congress have the capacity to make monumental healthcare reforms, but it would be more than naïve to think they will do so without a movement of nurses, patients, doctors, and other healthcare activists pushing, prodding, and hectoring them every inch of the way. In fact, Robert Kuttner of progressive magazine REGISTERED NURSE,™ (ISSN 1932-8966) The Journal of Patient Advocacy, November 2008 Volume 104/9 is published by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, 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 in January and February, and July and August. Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, California. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Registered Nurse, 2000 ™ Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. To send a media release or announcement, fax (510) 6630629. Registered Nurse™ is carried on the CNA/NNOC website at The American Prospect makes this same point in his new book, Obama's Challenge, which we've also reviewed in this issue. Kuttner argues that Obama and his administration have the chance to make "transformative" changes to the United States, but only if grassroots social movements exert tremendous pressure on them. Even before Election Day came around, powerful forces that would prevent any sort of meaningful healthcare reform had been meeting for months in backroom talks, readying the kinds of proposals we know won't work long term: passing mandates to buy insurance, creating systems of parallel public insurance, and expanding insurance to just small segments of the population, such as children. Make no mistake; the insurance industry is fighting against extinction, and in its desperation will go to unfathomable lengths to kill off challengers to its survival. Remember we're not just fighting for healthcare, but ratios, too. This coming year, we'll be reintroducing ratio legislation in multiple states, such as Arizona, Illinois, Maine, Ohio, and Texas. The Texas RNs held a rally in Austin this month to galvanize support for ratios and they are "fired up, ready to go!" Check out the report in the news section. So go ahead, take a couple weeks to pat yourselves on the back for a job well done, but get ready to tap into that energy again. The 2008 election was a means to an end, and we won't rest until that end is quality healthcare for every American, no matter what. Deborah Burger, RN | Geri Jenkins, RN Malinda Markowitz, RN | Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN CNA/NNOC Council of Presidents For permission to reprint articles, write to Editorial Office. To subscribe, send $40 ($45 foreign) to Subscription Department. California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee also produces California Nurse, which it will ™ continue to publish periodically. 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. Our contact information is in the masthead. executive editor Rose Ann DeMoro editor Lucia Hwang graphic design Jonathan Wieder communications director Charles Idelson contributors Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD Donna Smith photography Jaclyn Higgs Lauren Reid

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