Money & Business

Nurses’ Group Launches Campaign for Better Patient Care

By / May 16, 2014 A scene from "Computer Care," an ad in the new campaign. (YouTube screenshot)

National Nurses United has launched a series of nationwide radio ads to call attention to changes in the healthcare system that they say pose potential risks to patients, including staffing shortages in hospitals and the trend toward digitalized medicine.

Nurses around the country are asking the public to “insist on a registered nurse.”

It’s part of a new ad campaign by National Nurses United to help generate awareness around changes in the healthcare system that the group says could harm patients.

Among the concerns featured in coast-to-coast radio ads, videos (including the YouTube clip shown above), and social media are the risks of digitalized care, using such technologies as electronic health record systems and telemedicine. NNU also takes issue with hospitals that it says are cutting patient services, limiting hospital admissions, or discharging ill patients to clinics, nursing facilities, or their homes for the sake of larger profits.

“The American healthcare system already lags behind other industrialized nations in a wide array of essential health barometers from infant mortality to life expectancy,” NNU Co-president Jean Ross said in a statement. “These changing trends in healthcare threaten to make it worse. Behind every statistic is a patient, and their family, who are exposed to unnecessary suffering and risk as a result of the focus on profits rather than what is best for individual patient need.”

Founded in 2009 with the merger of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses, and Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), NNU represents roughly 185,000 members in every state.

NNU has also expressed concern about the risks that inadequate staffing levels of nurses pose to patients, and in 2012 came out in strong support of a Massachusetts law that limited the number of hours that nurses could work in a 24-hour period to 12.“Forcing nurses to work when they are exhausted endangers patients and leads to costly, preventable medical errors and complications,” said MNA/NNU President Donna Kelly-Willams. “The practice of mandatory overtime is indefensible by any patient safety standard, and yet hospitals continue to increase their use of this practice.”

For its part, the American Hospital Association last month launched a Symposium for Leaders in Healthcare Quality to help improve hospital quality and patient safety.

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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