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.
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.