Healthcare Needs to Embrace Nurses

Julie Shenkman
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Nurses face several challenges within the health care industry, even after they pass their exams and earn a license. A segment on "The View" from September 2015 showed two of the program's hosts mocking a beauty pageant contestant's monologue on what she does for a living when she cares for Alzheimer's patients.

Instead of playing the piano, tap-dancing or singing, Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson chose to show her nursing talent. The backlash from the comments from hosts of "The View" demonstrates how much nurses remain underappreciated with respect to the general public and, perhaps, the health care industry. Nurses perform vital functions in hospitals, doctor's offices and other areas, all leading to a higher quality of life in the communities they serve, despite the challenges nurses face as a whole.

Nurse practitioners who graduate into the field help fill gaps due to a doctor shortage. This is especially true in rural areas, where patients may not have access to a doctor or a full range of health care services. Nurses can go out into the field as part of a collaborative team that helps deliver care. The health care industry needs more go-getters and independent thinkers, such as nurses, that serve on the front lines of medicine. Nurses form vital links between patients and providers.

A looming nursing shortage means hospitals and providers need more nurses. The national average of nurses is 792 per 100,000 people. Viable populations need 1,000 nurses per 100,000 people. If this shortage persists for the health care industry, providers and patients alike may see precisely how underappreciated nurses are in America.

Nurses coming into the field can take a stand against workplace bullying in the health care industry. Several reports indicate that older nurses, doctors and managers bully younger and newer employees. This type of behavior is unacceptable, and educational initiatives teach nurses what to do about workplace bullying from peers, co-workers and supervisors.

Palliative care for seriously ill patients remains one important function of nurses. Because these cornerstones of health care develop relationships with patients and families, nursing talent proves helpful in improving palliative care, such as pain management and comfort, as terminally ill patients come close the end of life.

Nurses also provide access to health care for people who may otherwise not see a doctor. Impoverished citizens may not know what services are available to them, and nurses can show people who lack income, housing, education and food security a way to get the help they need.

Nurses improve the lives of not only individuals, but also the community as a whole by showing compassion when people have concerns about their health and well-being. As such, the health care industry should take better care of the people who care for the community.

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Sandra thanks for your comment. As to your question, it sounds like ageism - unfortunately. Companies, including hospitals, do not seem to want to hire more senior employees for many reasons but the major one, in my opinion, is that they do not want to have to pay for retirement or for greater healthcare costs due to aging.

  • Sandra P.
    Sandra P.

    I so agree. I have worked in nursing for many years and know how nurses are treated, especially within their own field and their superiors. I have my theories as to why and have started many articles but never finished them. At this point I would also like to ask why older nurses that are totally capable of working are shunned. Nursing is an extremely difficult field to work in.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Amy thanks for your comment. Couldn't have said it better. I agree that each of us should have to pay our due before we can be the ones giving the orders. If you don't spend time in the trenches, you don't have any idea what your workers are going through - the stress that they experience. It should be a requirements for them to spend at least several years on the floor. It is true that there is great concern in the health field regarding the lack of experienced nurses. The new grads have already spent time in the trenches so they should know what to expect when they get hired. It is a shame that they don't stick it out and make a career of it. The grass is not always greener in other fields and the need for skilled nursing care is only going to increase as the largest segment of our population is over 60. Personally I have great respect for all those in the healthcare field. Thank you for the great job that you do.

  • Amy Slaughter
    Amy Slaughter

    Thank you so much for realizing nurses are people too with real hopes dreams and feelings! Ive been in the nursing field doing direct patient care since 1990 starting out as a CNA having compassion and understanding for everyone i have provided nursing for. Treating them with the utmost respect. One of these days I hope that karma returns the favor! I think it ought to be a requirement for supervisors to have had to paid their dues for several years on the floor before becoming what we call pencil pushers! Somethings gotta give new grads are spending 1 to 2 years in the field then deciding to go into other fields.nurses should stand beside on another and work as a team instead of against each other remember were all in the same boat!

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Jennifer thanks for your question. The term "menial" was in response to Ronald G's comment. No position in the healthcare field is menial as far as I am concerned but he was referring to those often used but unappreciated healthcare services such as phlebotomists, lab techs, etc.


    Menial type job, you mean Nursing?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Ronald you are so very right. I know I truly appreciate those who do the "menial" type jobs. I am always grateful for them and I tell them that. That's all they need/want is for someone to say thank you.

  • Colette brookter
    Colette brookter


  • Jerell B.
    Jerell B.


  • Ronald G.
    Ronald G.

    Want to see under-appreciated? Look at X-ray Techs, Lab Techs, Phlebotomists, and Respiratory therapists.

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