Have You Thanked a Nurse Lately? – Say Ahhh! A Children’s Health Policy Blog

I’m really bad at keeping up with all these national
days, weeks and months of recognition. 
I somehow missed the opportunity to indulge on National Potato Chip Day
(March 14).  I didn’t even notice
that Ohio Governor Kasich signed a proclamation earlier this year designating
February 6 as National Pork Rind Day. 
But today I found a national celebration I can really rally behind –
National Nurses Week (May 6 – 12).


What a great idea — celebrating the people who immunize our
kids, listen to our concerns and advise us on important preventive health care
for our families.  Frankly, I can’t
imagine how anything would get done in a health care setting without nurses. 

My last interaction with a nurse was during my annual exam
with my nurse practitioner.  Even
though I see her only once a year, she has a major impact on my health. She
doesn’t let me justify away those extra pounds (hope she doesn’t read about my
plans to celebrate national potato chip day next year) but she also doesn’t
make harsh judgments.  I always
wonder how she has the ability to take so much time with her patients and
really listen.  A nursing student
accompanied her during my last visit. When she was out of the room tracking
down more information to share with me on vitamins, the student nurse told me
she is amazed by how she is able to handle a full caseload while taking the
time to be fully engaged with every patient that walks in the door.

When my super-human nurse practitioner came back to the
room, I figured it was time to whisk me out of the office but she insisted on
catching up on other things.  She
asked me about my family and my job. 
When she learned that I worked on health care issues, she was curious
about the Affordable Care Act.  She
really had not heard very much about it. 
(I guess she’s been too busy spending quality time with patients to
spend much time trying to decipher all the misinformation that’s been
circulating on the new health law.) 
She was thrilled with the fact that insurance companies have to spend
more on actual health care, that people would no longer be denied coverage
based on pre-existing conditions and that women would no longer be charged
higher premiums than men. 

Nurses are critically important to our nation’s efforts
to improve the quality of care and reach more uninsured people through the
Affordable Care Act.  The new
health law recognizes that fact and includes provisions to make sure that
nurses get the support and training they need.  For more on the importance of nurses and what the
Administration is doing to support their hard work, please read the statement
on National Nurses Week issued by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and report on how the new health law has benefitted nurses.

Remember, thanking a nurse is good for your health while
eating pork rinds and potato chips will only cause you to need a nurse.  Happy Nurses Week!

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