A Message from Our President | The Image of Nursing | Yes On 12! | How Time has Improved the Profession | The Importance of Nursing Publications | Get Involved!


A Message from Our TNSA President
By: Cindy Campbell, LP, SN

Hello.

Welcome to all new students, and congratulations on being selected to enter nursing school. You have entered a school that will teach you how to be a nurse: the most trusted profession. Also, you have made a great choice in joining TNSA.

To all of you who are returning for the adventure of a “next” semester in nursing school…. Yea ha, we made it this far!

Over the summer I spent some time filming a TV show about nursing school and folic acid. Those of you who were at the state convention in February may remember that folic acid was my platform, but you may not know that it is also a passion for me. Getting information out to the community about this B complex vitamin has been a great project for our local chapter. I would love to see many of you across the state implement this as your chapter project.

Why, you say? Well, how about this: Women of childbearing age could reduce the number of neural tube defects by seventy percent just by taking folic acid every day. Or this: Folic acid helps decrease the incidence of heart disease and colon cancer in men and women, and seems to reduce breast and cervical cancer as well. There are many benefits to taking folic acid. For a full list of benefits, please contact your local March of Dimes or the Texas Department of Health. If you have any questions about whom to contact, email me for more information.

The 78th legislative session has ended, and with it many new successes for nurses across Texas have been secured. Senate bill 718 addresses the practice environment for nurses. House bill 3126 addresses increasing the number of RNs. House bill 1483 creates a single Board of Nursing for LVNs and RNs. House bill 1095 gives APNs prescriptive authority for controlled substances schedule III-V and provides for standard credentialing for APNs.

As we look forward to the fall semester, many of you are making plans to attend the Council of Schools in Houston September 26-27. We will be at the Omni Westside, a wonderful location with serene surroundings. The will be some great focus sessions and wonderful speakers. Your 2003-2004 board of directors looks forward to seeing you there.

Please keep up with your projects so that we can submit them at the national convention. NSNA gives an award based on the number of community projects we do as a state. This is an award that is very easy to win. Our neighbors in Arkansas have won this award for the past 7 out of 8 years.

Also, please keep up the good work on membership drives! Texas has the largest membership in the nation. We all know things are bigger and better in Texas, but it was still great to hear our name listed as the state with the most members at Nationals in April.

November will bring National Mid-Year Convention in New Orleans. We look forward to seeing what new events have transpired since April.

I hope that your fall semester is rewarding and challenging. I look forward to hearing from you this year. Good luck on all you choose to endeavor this semester.

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The Image of Nursing
How the patient experience opened this nursing student’s eyes.
By: Beau Russo

The image of nursing has improved dramatically over the past few decades. Along with a stronger image, we have achieved higher salaries, more autonomy, more respect and more opportunities. All of these gains may be lost if we do not keep in mind the single most important and impacted area of our profession…patient interaction.

Recently, three members of my family were hospitalized for various ailments. I had the opportunity to spend time with each of them during their hospital stays. I observed hospital staff, including nurses. I also, took the opportunity to ask my relatives what they thought about the quality of care they received.

Everyone was in agreement that their respective nurses were proficient in their technical duties as nurses. The nurses performed good assessments, delivered medications without errors, and discussed procedures being provided with the patients. There was one big problem however with the nurses….customer service.

Now you may be asking, “What do you mean by customer service”? For most people working in manufacturing, retail, and service industries they would know the answer to this question. For some reason many health care professionals, and in particular nurses, are unaware of the impact poor customer service has on the image of our profession. More importantly, many do not realize the impact that it has on the lives of our patients.

For nursing, customer service includes answering questions by the patients and their families, accessing resources for the patients and their families, ensuring patient’s comfort, listening to patients’ dissatisfaction with the care provided and reporting it to management, and most importantly approaching your chosen career with passion, care and empathy.

Getting back to my three relatives, all three had horrible experiences with nursing staff that seemed disinterested in their concerns, apathetic toward their ailments, and dissatisfied with their jobs. Adjectives such as rude, inconsiderate, unprofessional, and condescending were used to describe many, but not all of the nursing staff. Patients do not want to hear about nursing shortages, demanding physicians, other patients, job dissatisfaction, or any other of a variety of complaints that nurses vocalize to their patients and their patients’ families. We are expected to deliver a value-added service in a professional manner that will make patients realize that we are a real asset to the health care delivery team.

If we want to continue to make gains in our recognition as health care professionals, we will need to continue to perform value-added service to our customers on behalf of our employers: employers that pay our salaries, do our performance evaluations, give us raises, pay our benefits, and give us the opportunity to practice in our chosen profession. For those nursing students and existing nurses who are not able or willing to delivery good customer service to all patients, please leave the profession. You are doing more harm than good.

Our universities and hospitals must teach more classes about delivering quality care that focuses more on delivery skills in addition to technical skills. They must also face the reality that some nurses are not good at customer service. They must help those nurses find other positions where their nursing skills can add value other than patient contact. They may also need to counsel some nurses about finding other professions. This may be difficult at this point in time because of the nursing shortage, but we can not wait until the shortage ends to begin addressing this issue. It may be too late for those of us that have chosen this profession because we do want to make a positive difference in the lives of our patients.

My three relatives will not return for care at the hospitals were they recently spent a few days. Unfortunately many other Americans share this experience. It adds to the stress that causes them to put off seeking medical treatment that is needed earlier. When they finally do seek care they will look for alternate medical facilities where they hope to find better service. Each patient and family deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. I hope that they will find the service that they need and deserve from the new graduates in Texas. Also, I hope that we can be good role models for those existing nurses that have forgotten why they chose to be nurses.

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Yes On 12!
Nurses’ voices heard
By: Stormy Klan

Nurses’ voices have been heard through the power of the big red check mark that indicates they have cast their vote. The great privilege of voting has been a part of this great country from its inception.

Nurses can not afford to be apathetic in vocalizing their concerns, nor in casting their vote, regarding the issues relating to the public concern. The potential jeopardy of human life and their licensure are ever diligently being watched by the colleagues in the professional nursing organizations.

Proposition 12 in Texas was placed before the voters on September 13th, in a response to escalating lawsuits that are handicapping the medical profession. Lawsuits with arbitrary non-economic damages against doctors drive up the cost of medical malpractice insurance. The ramification is passed along to the consumer by the closing of hospitals, clinics and decreasing professional medical care – a major deterrent to smaller populated areas of Texas.

Does Proposition 12 give away potential rights of the victim or their families who have a case of merit for medical malpractice? No. The victims and their families will retain the unlimited rights to seek economic damages related to lost wages or potential earnings. Proposition 12 refers only to non-economic, or “pain-and-suffering” damages.

Restoring community care is a priority in Nursing. Thanks to healthcare professionals’ turnout at the polling booths on the 13th, Proposition 12 passed by a mere 1% majority. This is a huge step in the right direction for healthcare in Texas, as it will decrease the avalanche of frivolous lawsuits which are handicapping the public’s access to professional medical attention.

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How Time has Improved the Profession
By: Dametria Robinson

meme_robinson@hotmail.com

According to the American Nursing Association (ANA), nursing is defined as: “the diagnosis and treatment of human responses to actual or potential health problems.” Council of Schools is just around the corner. This year’s theme is “Building blocks to success: Building, Maintaining, and improving your chapter.” Our profession has overcome many obstacles and has made many breakthroughs. The Nursing profession has achieved its success by building, maintaining, and improving the profession.

Built: Nursing has gone through many image changes: the folk image, the servant image, and the religious image. It wasn’t until the 18th century that nursing had a dramatic change in direction and became the respected profession it is today. The vision of what nursing should be is because of one lady, Florence Nightingale.

Maintained: By the 19th century, the development of nursing organizations occurred. Over the years, nursing became a profession. This was accomplished by standardizing education and nursing practice.

Improved: Today, nursing is a growing profession that can lead to countless different roads in continuing education. One can obtain a Master’s degree and further that to a Doctoral degree. Recruitment efforts to capture minorities and men in nursing have been implemented. Most importantly, nurses are seen as caretakers, educators, counselors, advocators, and someone who is knowledgeable.

Improving: This year and upcoming years in Texas will very challenging in the nursing profession. By now we should all know that legislation had to decrease the state budget. This will affect nursing schools because the education department will decrease its budget, too. As a result, enrollment has decreased this year across the state. Now more than ever, we need to recruit and retain present and future students in the nursing profession. We also need to address the need to teach nursing because of the shortage of nursing school professors. This can be accomplished by recognizing the rewards of being a teacher, and not its pay. So I say to you, fellow classmates: build, maintain, improve and further improve your chapter and our profession.

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The Importance of Nursing Publications
By: Corrie Dollar

When receiving Imprint and other nursing magazines, what is the first thing you do with them? Probably what I do: flip through them for anything interesting, then put them aside to read later, which I never get around to doing. But those magazines are one of our few links to what is going on in the nursing world. They tell us about current events and news that we should know about and help find solutions for, before we become nurses and are faced with the dilemmas (i.e. the nursing shortage, proposition 12, etc…). Isn’t that why we joined this nursing organization? So that we can help make things a little easier for us as nurses? And yet our most valuable resource is going unnoticed.

Let us also not forget that after passing the NCLEX, we will begin to receive the RN Update quarterly. Most nurses barely look through them, then just add it to their growing stack. There are many reasons why we should start to pay more attention to reading the whole magazine, but the most important reason is the legal actions that could be taken upon your license because of our failure to stay updated on amendments to our nursing practice act. The only way that we are informed about new amendments is through the RN Update. Our licenses can be disciplined not only for not following those amendments, but also for not knowing about them.

Therefore, before you toss aside your magazines, try reading them first, it’ll be good practice; plus, you never know what you may learn.

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Get Involved!
Opportunities for involvement at the state level
By: Danielle Collins

I know what you’re thinking: “Get involved at the state level? I’m lucky to be involved at the family level as a nursing student!” That’s why I want to point out a couple of quick, gratifying ways to get involved in TNSA.

First of all, have you noticed the names of contributing authors in The Central Line? Each article was contributed by a member of the Board of Directors. While the BOD’s fine journalistic skills are more than sufficient, we do welcome input from our members! Do you have a local project that you would like to get the word out about? Write an article. Is there a breakthrough new therapy that you would like to educate fellow students about? Write an article. Do you have insights or advice about nursing school or transitioning to the nursing profession? Is there a nursing issue that you feel strongly about, and would like to share your opinion? Do you having a funny or inspiring story about your experience in nursing school? Write an article! Remember: This is your newsletter. It exists as a forum for Texas nursing students to communicate and be educated. Also, it’s a great way for you to be published by the time you graduate. Send all article submissions to drcollins80@netzero.net.

Second, I would like to introduce a new addition to The Central Line. Beginning in the November issue, I will profile one outstanding student per issue. I need you to tell me who these students are. We all know one or two of them: the single mom with three kids and two jobs, who has a 4.0 and never wears sweats and a baseball cap to class; the quiet, unassuming student whose level-headedness helped save a patient in distress. There are thousands of nursing students in Texas who serve as an inspiration to fellow students, nurses, and patients, and we would like to recognize them. Send me an email at drcollins80@netzero.net, telling me a little bit about the student and why you think he or she deserves to be our Outstanding Student.

TNSA exists for you, the student. Take advantage of the opportunities it presents. Attend state and local events, where you can network with key individuals in our profession and learn about important issues in nursing. Contribute your thoughts, ideas, and wisdom to The Central Line, so other students can benefit from it as well. Involvement in our profession is not just something to pass the time. It is vital to the survival and advancement of nursing. Only by letting your voice be heard can you make a difference in your field.

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A Message from Our President | The Image of Nursing | Yes On 12! | How Time has Improved the Profession | The Importance of Nursing Publications | Get Involved!

 

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