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Staff Nurses Have Their Say on Presidential Priorities

Jessica Groatman

The challenges facing incoming President Barack Obama and Congress are tremendous, but Americans are making it clear they want healthcare to be a high priority on the national agenda.

In a national survey released Jan. 15 by Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, 43% of respondents said they view reforming healthcare as a top concern, ranking it third behind improving the economy at 73% and fighting terrorism at 48%. We asked staff nurses from the DC/Maryland/Virginia region how they would advise the new president to improve the U.S. healthcare system.

What healthcare issue do you think the Obama administration should address first in 2009?

“As an American, good healthcare should be a right and not a privilege. Nearly 46 million Americans are without healthcare insurance. The first issue President Obama needs to address is making quality healthcare accessible and affordable for everyone. To do so, many problems need to be addressed: Eliminate wasteful spending; make it easier for employers to provide insurance for their employees; make it easier for the self-employed to buy coverage; encourage preventive services and screenings; encourage Americans to eat healthy and exercise; encourage people to quit smoking; police the drug and insurance companies who abuse their power or overcharge for their services. In America, you should not have to choose between buying your prescriptions or putting dinner on the table.”
— Jessica Groatman, RN
Staff Nurse
Abington (Pa.) Memorial Hospital

Nancy Pokorny

“President Obama’s top healthcare priorities must be to set an agenda that assures access for all to affordable primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare services with a special focus on women, infants, and children; increased and sustained funding for nursing education at undergraduate and graduate levels to ensure there are enough providers into the future; and access to affordable pharmaceuticals and long-term care services.”
— Nancy Pokorny, RN, MS
Nursing Career Specialist
Albert Einstein Healthcare Network
Philadelphia

Liz Scully

“As a mother of two college-educated young adults, and as a nurse, I truly hope President Obama addresses insurance coverage for all. Both my children have struggled for a period of time without insurance. Professionally, universal healthcare will release the pressure on overburdened emergency departments and save money on non-emergency patient encounters.”
— Liz Scully, RNC
Clinical Informatics
AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center
Atlantic City, N.J.

Karli Nugent

“I hope President Obama keeps his campaign promise to ensure that everyone in the United States has healthcare coverage by implementing his plan for those who are not currently covered. This will allow everyone the opportunity to seek both preventive and necessary healthcare. It will help decrease the strain on our emergency departments and positively affect the overall health of our country.”
— Karli Nugent, RN
Staff Nurse
AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Mainland Campus
Pomona, N.J.

Daneen Smith

“As a healthcare provider, mother and American, I personally would like to see the Obama administration focus on healthcare reform. Growing up in an underserved neighborhood, I have witnessed firsthand the results of not having health coverage. I know of many people who have died or suffered from chronic illnesses that could have been prevented if they had access to healthcare. The plan must include preventive services and promote health and wellness!”
— Daneen Smith, RN, MSN
Clinical Nurse Specialist
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Vicki D. Lachman

“He has to change the perverse reward systems that focus on acute illness to the exclusion of prevention and chronic illness management. If we unleash nurses’ intra/entrepreneurialism spirit, they will design the innovations needed to fix our broken healthcare system. Nurses are in a unique position to make major contributions to Obama’s plan. First, they know what is not working because they experience barriers daily. Second, nurses know how to design systems to coordinate care across patient conditions, services and settings over time.”
— Vicki D. Lachman, PhD, APRN, MBe
Clinical Associate Professor
Drexel University

Maureen Mullin

“Undoubtedly the economy will be a top priority for President Obama, yet it is critical that he recognize the urgency of healthcare reform. With rising unemployment rates, we are seeing a record number of uninsured Americans. Providing affordable, accessible health care to these and all Americans should be his top healthcare priority.”
— Maureen (Mickey) Mullin, RN, BSN, OCN, CHCR
Nursing Career Specialist
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Philadelphia

Courtney D. Marshall

“President Obama should institute a nursing leadership position with the ability to make decisions and set policies at a national level. In this time of economic, social, and emotional anguish, a nursing leadership position could set policy for patient advocacy and responsibly articulate nurses’ concerns to ensure that nurses are not only content and fulfilled, but also productive. By instituting this bold new position, the president would solidify positive patient outcomes because they are directly proportionate to the quality of nursing care.”
— Courtney D. Marshall, RN, BSN
Clinical Nurse III
Co-Chair, Nursing Shared Governance Leadership Council
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia

Matthew D. McHugh

“The nurses of the 21st century must be prepared at the baccalaureate level in order to care for an aging population with complex healthcare needs as well as go on to graduate education, advanced practice, and nursing faculty roles. This will help address one of the most limiting factors in nursing workforce development: a dwindling supply of well-trained nurse faculty. Policy initiatives including tax incentives, expanded loan forgiveness programs, and clinical training investments can support U.S. nursing workforce expansion.”*
— Matthew D. McHugh, RN, CRNP, PhD, JD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Center for Health Outcomes & Policy Research
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Philadelphia

By | 2020-04-15T15:21:20-04:00 January 26th, 2009|Categories: Philadelphia/Tri-State, Regional|0 Comments

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