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Every day should be a day of giving thanks

Thanksgiving 2015 is now in the past, filled with memories of good food, good friends and a little time to rest.

On Nov. 25 and 26 this year, most everyone I knew or who I came in contact with was smiling, kind and sharing “Happy Thanksgiving” wishes to people they knew and even those they didn’t know. There was an overall ambience of good will and optimism.

Despite the niceness of the holiday season, perhaps we shouldn’t reduce our giving thanks to just one day.

In relation to the law and your profession, you have so much to be thankful for every day. You live in a free society with its system of laws. Despite its flaws and weaknesses, this allows you as a nurse to:

1.    Obtain an education, whether at the AD, BSN or MSN level (or beyond) that is carefully regulated by respective state laws and that results in a quality education with expertise in your area of practice.
2.    Practice your profession.
3.    Be paid a salary that is regulated by state and federal law and not by the whim of an employer.
4.    Receive employment benefits that when provided, cannot be easily compromised.
5.    Move from one employer to another, and one state to another, to practice your profession within a regulatory framework that only requires you to follow its mandates.
6.    Have mechanisms to speak out about your terms and conditions of employment and seek to change them as you and your colleagues see the need.
7.    Protect your hard-earned license with clear due process protections in the event there are allegations against you as a professional or in your practice.
8.    Have protections from “ordinary” liability when you provide care as a good samaritan.
9.    Get workers’ compensation benefits if you suffer an injury that arises out of and during the course of your employment.
10.    Seek unemployment compensation for a specified period of time after meeting initial qualifications until you find another position.

So, every day should be a day of thanks. Many of your nurse colleagues around the world can only dream of the personal and professional opportunities you benefit from daily.

Your turn

The reasons I’ve identified for being thankful may not be yours. I’d like to hear what you are thankful for as you practice your profession each and every day.

Editor’s note: Nancy Brent’s posts are designed for educational purposes and are not to be taken as specific legal or other advice.

By | 2015-11-30T20:25:12-05:00 December 2nd, 2015|Categories: Nursing careers and jobs|1 Comment

About the Author:

Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN
Our legal information columnist Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN, received her Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and concentrates her solo law practice in health law and legal representation, consultation and education for healthcare professionals, school of nursing faculty and healthcare delivery facilities. Brent has conducted many seminars on legal issues in nursing and healthcare delivery across the country and has published extensively in the area of law and nursing practice. She brings more than 30 years of experience to her role of legal information columnist. Her posts are designed for educational purposes only and are not to be taken as specific legal or other advice. Individuals who need advice on a specific incident or work situation should contact a nurse attorney or attorney in their state. Visit The American Association of Nurse Attorneys website to search its attorney referral database by state.

One Comment

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    Wendie Price December 29, 2015 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    I am thankful that nursing is an eclectic and inclusive profession. During my 30+ career, I have been able to move around in different areas, to keep my interests up, and to prevent burn-out. I have worked in the ED, OR, Mother/child, recruitment, research, and now student health, without having to learn a new business, or even leave my employer. And as I get older, I can move from the more adrenalin fueled specialities, to those that are gentler on the body. I am so thankful I chose to be a nurse.

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