Nursing Our Way to Unalienable Rights

On the walk home the other night I noticed that there is a bunch of construction taking place on the west side of the Capitol.  It’s sort of ironic to see construction on a building that supposedly represents our freedom at a time when it feels like our government and, (more often than not) our ideals are falling apart.  At the risk of sounding dramatic, it sometimes feels like on the good days we are taking “one step forward and two steps back”, and on the bad days, we seem to be in a perpetual state of deconstruction.  It might seem trite but I can’t help but draw that parallel especially in light of the most recent attacks on women’s health and health care in general in this country over the past several months.

I hesitate to bring politics into blog posts, (and I’ll try not to do so) but because the personal IS (for better or worse) political, I felt obligated to share a bit about my experience attending the Health Care Reform rally that took place just a few weeks ago in Washington, DC at The Supreme Court.  I had the amazing opportunity to attend the rally with my coworkers, who are some of the most dedicated and passionate activists and advocates I have ever met.  The sidewalks outside of the Court were bustling and the positive energy was enough to forget the chill in the air and it even got people to start singing along to hymns like “This Little Light of Mine”.  Doctors and nurses and other care providers in the crowd wore name tags and carried signs in support of health care reform, and I walked away feeling an even stronger sense of connectedness.  So much of my dream to pursue nursing has been and continues to be about human rights activism and ensuring that everyone has access to good, quality care.  Seeing clinicians and care providers carrying out their similar dream gave me a lot of hope and inspiration.

So much of this journey that we are all about to embark upon is about connecting with our patients and with each other so that we can become well-trained and thoughtful, compassionate, and open-minded care providers.  For many of us, this desire for connectedness has everything to do with why we chose nursing and it is and will always be essential to our practice.  Part of providing care is continuing to fight for justice and for me, the two are inseparable.

One thing I will always remember as being fundamental to public health theory is that “the health of a population and/or a community is determined by the health of its most vulnerable citizens”.  If this is the case, then we certainly have a lot of work to do.  And I hope that someday, if not already, we can all be part of turning the deconstruction to reconstruction.

My amazing co-workers standing up for health care!


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