I read the good post at KevinMD.com "Why physicians should care about Amanda Trujillo" and then watched with mounting dismay as the Disqus comments blew up my inbox. Somehow patient advocacy has gotten tied up with nursing advocacy which has gotten inseparable from Amanda Trujillo support, and the whole thing stinks. Amanda, the supposed beacon of advocacy for our profession, who has bravely chosen to speak up and take the shaft for the rest of us who are evidently unable to speak for ourselves (whether we want her to or not), has taken the stance that nurses should solve the problems she's speaking up about by jumping ship. Leaving hospitals. Yes, screw the patients. Save ourselves! She can never work in a hospital again, so neither should anyone else. She boasts of encouraging nursing students to eschew hospital nursing. This, I remind you, is the nurse being touted as an example to the rest of us, as a spokesperson for the field of nursing itself. Words from our advocate?
"It sucks to be a nurse. and i for one, am glad as heck that im never stepping back into a hospital again--and I intend on making the message of "why" loud and clear in the book im writing, and guest speaking at every nursing school or nursing conference I am able to reach. my message? "never again." "not one nurse, not one more patient--ever again." I am strongly encouraging every nursing student who has been writing me to stay away from that setting…. The future nurses deserve a fulfilling career, they deserve to walk into a profession that affords them the opportunity to contribute, make change, be innovative, and transformational. They deserve to accomplish their goals and dreams of improving healthcare for people and improving their profession---they cannot do that in a hospital---and Im glad they are seeing what really happens."
and to fill the gap,
"guess who will be playing in the sandbox with you in the care of YOUR PATIENTS? Unlicensed personnel--that’s right, patient care assistants, who are taught the mechanical aspects of patient care. Why you ask? Because, they are less expensive to pay for than nurses, require less training and recruitment cost, and they can easily fill in the gap when there isn’t enough staff on the floor."
Really. Go to the blog and read her comments. She's not cautioning against this; she's recommending it. She really feels that nurses should stay out of hospitals and that CNA's can do our job. THAT strikes a blow for nurses everywhere, Amanda! THAT shows how important you think our jobs are! In possible anticipation of posts such as mine, she follows up:
"And before anyone freaks out and takes out a hit on me (there are plenty in AZ who are already considering that) by take over I meant, nurses could assume their rightful role in patient centered care and advocacy---ie: home health, public health, independant nurse advocates, independant nursing businesses. The idea being that doctors could control/dominate what they wish to within the walls of a hospital, while nurses could---without fear--be who and what nurses are supposed to be in the community. So call off the headhunters please, i have a deep appreciation for physicians."
I don't think we're really up to taking hits out on anyone, but this comment really doesn't help ameliorate the bizarre commentary here. Now she's a physician advocate? I thought we were talking about speaking up for nurses. But now it's forget nurses and forget sick people in the hospital...let us leave the hospitals, advocate for physicians, and all become nurse advocates. I begin to see the reason for the psych consult. This idiocy borders on the sublime.
I'm leaving aside now any arguments about whether or not Amanda actually practiced outside her scope or did anything wrong at her place of employment, because no one can know. This is a fact, and I don't understand why it continues to be debated. We have a nurse of questionable sanity shrieking her story all over the internet, and we have nothing else. Well, not nothing. Now we have witty comebacks like this to those who criticize her:
"And for the record, I hate the word GLEAN. It reminds me of the word SPUTUM. And I hate the word SPUTUM."
Point well made.
Sputum aside, though, I work in a hospital and it pisses me off too. I don't like the politics, and I don't like the financial bull, and I don't like the lateral violence and unfair practices. I think about leaving all the time because of those things, but I don't. Why? Because I became a nurse advisedly. I wasn't drafted. I chose it. I am good at my job, and all those things aside I make a difference to my patients every time my clogs hit the floor. I'm not trying to be a spokesperson here. I'm talking about myself. Hospitals need nurses. A CNA cannot do my job. A CNA can do the monkeywork part of my job, but a CNA cannot be a nurse. I personally and professionally deeply resent and take exception to the claim that nurses SHOULD leave the hospitals and abandon patients to completely unacceptable substandard care.
This message of Amanda's is not the message of a nursing advocate. I agree wholeheartedly with other commenters who have written things like
"Are you kidding me? I am an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and would never say things like what you just did. What do you think would happen if every nurse just decided they would never work in a hospital again? You are a patient advocate? That is not advocating for patients. In case you have forgotten due to the circumstances in which you found yourself, patients in the hospital are the MOST vulnerable. Educate students regarding what happened to you and how to best avoid those kind of situations. THAT is leadership. Bitter ranting is beneath being a professional in any position. Maybe you should encourage nurses to eventually become hospital administrators. In that role, they CAN change the way hospitals function."
Please, Amanda, stop advocating for me. You go, girl. I mean, please GO.