Thank You, Nurses, for ALL You Do

Nurse Thank you

As National Nurses Week concludes, I want to take a moment and thank all nurses — past, present, and future — for all that you do. I know firsthand the importance of nurses not only to patients, but to their families. During the 15 years I cared for my parents, nurses made a huge difference in our lives. There’s no doubt, caregiving takes a team, and so often nurses were a part of my family’s team.

I also know that for many of you, they’re a part of your team, too. When we asked to hear about your experiences with nurses recently on our @AARPadvocates Facebook page, your response was overwhelming, and positive. The comments came pouring in:

  • Charlie: “This country wouldn't be the same without our caring nurses.”
  • Winston: “Nurses are the basic bedrock of my healthcare.”
  • Cecilia: “Nurses are Special People they can never be replaced.”
  • Genevieve: “I have said it before and I will say it again. Nurses are the backbone of the hospitals.”
  • MJ: “Nurses have gotten me through some very tricky times. My oncology nurse, Mary got me through hell and back. My admiration for nurses knows no bounds. Thank you all.”
  • Robert: “Awesome and made a tremendous difference in the care of all family members!”

Give nurses f ull authority to heal
Because nurses are so important to all of us, AARP is fighting to break down the barriers that prevent nurse practitioners from using all their training and skills to care for patients. Already in 20 states, nurse practitioners can provide complete primary care services, including routine health care such as diagnosing and treating patients, managing chronic conditions, ordering lab tests, prescribing medications and performing annual exams.

Nurse practitioners have this authority because they have completed advanced education at the master’s or doctoral level, focused on areas like primary and elder care.

Breaking down these barriers could:

  • Ease a predicted shortage of primary care providers
  • Improve patient choice
  • Expand options for patients to receive primary care in the setting of their choice — in medical offices, at home, in community health centers and more. For family caregivers, this is especially important since their loved ones — like my mom and pop — often would be better served by receiving health care at home.

Breaking down the barriers state by state
We’re fighting in states across the country to make it easier to give nurses full authority to heal.

The good news: Progress is being made. Already this year, Nebraska, New Jersey and Washington have passed laws that will give nurse practitioners more authority. Additionally, bills in Colorado and Maryland have passed the state legislature and are just awaiting the governor’s signature.

States to watch
California: Senate Bill 323 would improve and modernize California’s health care rules so that nurse practitioners could use all their skills and training to care for patients, especially older people who need to receive care at home to continue living independently — and stay out of costly nursing homes. The bill recently passed the state Senate and now moves to the Assembly for consideration. Right now, California is the only West Coast state that has not updated its health care rules when it comes to nurse practitioners.

Similar bills are being considered in other states, including: Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

See where your state stands: 

nurse-map-draft

Follow me on Twitter  @RoamTheDomes for more news on this important issue. And to stay up to date on our advocacy in the states, sign up for the  AARP Advocates e-newsletter or visit your  state Web page.


 

5be3c5614d383ac66bec84f18dc55edb
Elaine Ryan is the vice president of state advocacy and strategy integration (SASI) for AARP. She leads a team of dedicated legislative staff members who work with AARP state offices to advance advocacy with governors and state legislators, helping people 50-plus attain and maintain their health and financial security.

 

 

Search AARP Blogs

Related Posts
December 11, 2018 10:07 AM
In an election year filled with partisanship and political fights, it’s no surprise that many Americans feel that their voices aren’t being heard or that the issues that affect their lives aren’t being addressed. But, many outstanding elected officials work hard every day to make a positive difference for their constituents.  That’s why AARP recognizes state legislators, governors, and other elected officials – from both sides of the aisle – who have stepped up and worked together to write, support, and advance common-sense policies that help older Americans remain in their homes and communities and retire with confidence. AARP is proud to announce our fifth annual bipartisan class of Capitol Caregivers, who fought this year to increase support for family caregivers and their loved ones, along with our fourth annual bipartisan class of Super Savers, who championed policies that enhance retirement security.
December 05, 2018 01:06 PM
Caroline is a mother of two children and a preschool teacher who unexpectedly became a family caregiver for her father after he suffered a major stroke. Her father, Tom, now deceased, lost the use of his right side and his ability to speak. Multiple surgeries and rehabilitation treatments later, he was able to live at home with the help of nurses. But it was up to Caroline to provide daily care, such as overseeing appointments and handling certain nursing responsibilities, like managing his medications. “I became the person my father could rely on more than anyone in the world,” Caroline said. “I became his safe place and his best friend.” In communities across the country, family caregivers like Caroline are caring for older parents, spouses and other loved ones, helping them to remain at home – where they want to be. Their tasks are done out of love and commitment, but are not easy. That’s why AARP is fighting for family caregivers and their loved ones in every state. In 2018, AARP advanced new policies to provide more help at home, flexibility at work, training, relief and more, which will benefit over 30 million family caregivers. Here are a couple highlights:
November 27, 2018 08:55 AM
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the vital role that transportation options play in what we at AARP call “livable communities” – great places to live for people of all ages. Being able to get around is critical to earn a living, raise a family, contribute and stay connected to your community and enjoy life. And, having alternatives to getting behind the wheel of your own car is particularly important for older adults who want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.