National Nurses United

Registered Nurse May 2007

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TOC:1 6/7/07 2:55 PM Page 2 LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT as this issue's cover says, we are really gearing up as an organization to win guaranteed healthcare. Of course, we registered nurses have been longtime supporters of healthcare based on a single-payer model, essentially expanding Medicare to everybody, but it seems that just in the past year, you can literally feel the sea change in public opinion shift in favor of providing a national plan to every man, woman, and child in the U.S. There's talk of healthcare reform everywhere you turn. It's been touted as one of the top issues deciding the 2008 presidential election, and now Michael Moore is releasing his blockbuster film, SiCKO, exposing the health insurance industry in all its depravity. Check out our back cover for info on how to get in on some opening-night action. Single-payer healthcare legislation is pending in California (SB 840) and at the federal level (HR 676), and being introduced in other states. It's a historic chance for nurses to exercise our power and leadership as the most trusted profession in the country to really heal one of the most basic ills of our healthcare system: private insurance coverage that prioritizes profits over patients. On May 8, we kicked off this year's efforts with probably the largest-ever rally in support of a specific healthcare measure. Thousands of nurses and public school employee allies converged on the California Capitol to demand fair and humane healthcare treatment and access for everyone. People like Cynthia Campbell, a per diem RN who had to fight not only her cancer, but also her insurance company to get claims paid. Now, her short-term policy is expiring and REGISTERED NURSE,™ (ISSN 1932-8966) The Journal of Patient Advocacy, May 2007 Volume 103/4 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 she has almost zero prospects of finding a new insurer, now that she's been tagged with the dreaded "preexisting condition" label. Read about her story and coverage of the rally in this issue. Another amazing story we've prepared for you in this issue takes you behind the scenes of prison nursing; what it's like to care for patients behind bars. As you may well know, the California prison healthcare system was hurting so many people that a federal judge put the whole program under the authority of a third-party receiver. Much has been written about the receivership and court battles, but little of the few registered nurses who work within the notorious system. Erin FitzGerald's profile of one RN, Joey Upland, provides a frank look at what it's like to be a correctional nurse, and what's being done to improve nursing practice, advocacy, and patient care in the California Department of Corrections. Lots of exciting news in this issue. I hope you are as eager to see Michael Moore's SiCKO as I am, so please visit our website at to get in-the-know about opening-night festivities! Deborah Burger, RN CNA/NNOC president 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 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 photography Jaclyn Higgs, Tad Keyes editorial intern Bonnie Ho

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