Updated: Jul 25, 2019
Hey fellow nurses,
I'm Claire, the nurse behind the blog.
I'm a Registered Nurse in a 40 bed Emergency Department just outside of a large metro area. I love the action and the breadth of patients and clinical experience the ED provides. About 25% of our patient population is seeking mental health or chemical dependency support; 75% needs medical attention.
Many of my patients are living the worst day of their lives when I encounter them. Sometimes we help, sometimes we cannot. Sometimes a patient's body fails them. Other times, our system fails them.
Before I was a nurse, I was a Sociology and Anthropology student at a liberal arts college. In my sociology courses, I learned about the human-designed systems that define our lives, like education, justice, government, and healthcare. Healthcare, in particular, intrigued me.
The US healthcare system is complicated, messy, and controversial. Americans often hear, "We have the best healthcare system in the world!" In reality, it's unsafe, inefficient, and way too expensive. Studying healthcare as an outsider was terrifying. It seemed like a corrupt, unsolvable monster of problems. Then I discovered Nursing.
The profession of Nursing began as an act of defiance, a move against the status quo. Florence Nightingale saw egregious problems with healthcare practice and delivery, and left a life of privilege behind to initiate change. Her choice was controversial.
Her parents were furious. Physicians felt threatened. Her society judged her. Nursing was dirty, lowly, and a waste of Florence's fancy education. But Florence didn't see it that way. She put her reputation on the line, dedicating her life to improving patient care through basic changes to the care environment. Rather than just stopping the bleeding, Florence recognized the vital role that clean sheets, water, and food played in healing.
With her knowledge and commitment, Florence made waves in the healthcare community. British military officials took notice and brought her on during the Crimean War. Under her direction, the military hospitals were transformed. The mortality rates of wounded soldiers in her care dropped drastically. Modern nursing was born.
Today, nurses continue Florence's legacy by looking beyond disease. We incorporate whole person care, patient advocacy, and system analysis to achieve the best outcomes for our patients. As a sociology student, the nursing profession gave me hope.
Nursing the System is the bridge between my sociology past, my nursing present, and my health innovation future. I am passionate about connecting nurses to the information they need to navigate the chaos of our healthcare system - and to innovate change. I know that when nurses speak, people listen. It's time for other nurses to know this, too.
Let's all take a cue from Florence: Let's nurse this system.