Good Friday

As a nurse I’ve had to follow a higher law. Sometimes I had to do what was right instead of what was easy. There were times that I had to stand up to ridicule and berating from my supervisor because I disagreed with the staffing of our department.  I can’t help but wonder how it might be, if more nurses took a Garden in Gethsemane moment and surrendered to a crown of thrones rather than compromise safe patient care.

What Nurses Want and Need for Christmas

Don't Pay the Price of Silence or Brutality
Don’t Pay the Price of Silence or Brutality

Whether or not you agree with Sony’s recent reactions to North Korea’s threats, freedom of speech is a human right that many Americans have sacrificed their lives for.

Granted, I don’t have to like what other people say about a subject but I have the right to speak my opinion. After all, I don’t make up true north.

My favorite flavor is chocolate. I didn’t make that up. I don’t like what happened in the Sony hacking incident but I don’t like the fact that Sony stirred a hornet’s nest with Kim Jong-un either. Just because I like chocolate, doesn’t mean I should beat you over the head with it.

What does this have to do with what nurses want for Christmas?  It has to do with nurses being able to voice our true north without fear of losing our jobs. It has to do with being able to communicate with integrity so people don’t have to suffer.

Saying what I mean and meaning what I say doesn’t have to be said or done in a mean spirited way. When there aren’t enough nurses to cover tough situations we shouldn’t have to resort to shaming or bullying one another just because it’s been done that way in the past.

Christmas can be a very short-staffed time of year. I get it that nurses have families too and want time off. But there are plenty of nurses who want to work, yet staffing formulas don’t always reflect the true north of what patients need for optimal care.

Too bad nursing productivity and performance are based on customer satisfaction and not so much the basis of healthy outcomes like educating patients on getting and staying well. Making sure a patient’s dinner isn’t cold is important, but what makes nursing meaningful is providing lasting safety and support.

Yet patient satisfaction surveys, used to fulfill healthcare quotas, focus on comfort and costs rather than quality measures driven by lowering illness through intervention and education.

Too often, nurses are too busy or too tired to balk about the measuring of their pillow fluffing.  Working to save and improve the quality of life should be more important than encouraging patients to circle happy faces for food temperatures and mood lighting.

The political pressure for nurses to play these corporate games of following the money, lest we fear losing our job, has watered down our effectiveness as soldiers against suffering and disease.

Nurses need to learn to be assertive and provide scientific rationales for better hospital management to stop the bullying behaviors and focus on best medical practices.

After all, if Florence Nightingale had bashed her administrators in the beginning for doing such a lousy job, or worse yet if she had kept her mouth shut, the spirit of modern day nursing wouldn’t exist.

Instead, Flo became the voice for change by modeling effective communication that demanded respect. I know we can keep her flame burning bright to direct us to the true north for healthcare justice.

May we all be blessed with the courage and strength to be that voice. Happy Holidays.

A Letter to Nurses on Labor Day

Labor Pains an important message this Labor Day. On Sale today for $10.99
Labor Pains an important message this Labor Day. On Sale today for $10.99

Dear Nurses,

The very first Labor Day was created to honor working people who aspired to the American dream through the labor movement and unions. Today’s nurses work hard not only at the patient’s bedside but in the political arena for safe, affordable inclusive healthcare.  But we can’t do it alone.

Guaranteed medical insurance doesn’t guarantee healthcare. Costs and premiums are skyrocketing. Yet, higher prices don’t equal better care. In many hospitals nurses are expected to stretch beyond their limits.

Today there’s a growing disconnect between what hospital corporations are peddling and what nurses want. And the only way hospitals can keep their power is by demonizing and marginalizing our labor unions.

There’s no doubt that hospital corporations along with insurance companies will outspend nurses —as they will in this coming election. But our strength and the strength of the labor movement has never been our dollar power—it’s been our NURSE HERO POWER!

That’s why I wrote the book Labor Pains. I want everyone to know what’s at risk in modern day healthcare. Patients and nurses trust that their best interests are being cared for, when in reality, greed is the driving force of healthcare corporations. Labor Pains is a fictional story about a labor and delivery nurse, named Paige, who works for a small community hospital that is taken over by a medical monopoly. Sound familiar? Within its birth stories, Paige faces the journey that many nurses face. She must choose whether to take action to relieve her pain, or remain with the status quo: embittered and burned-out. Another dimension of Labor Pains develops when a labor union pushes the nurses to give birth to a political movement to keep the Spirit of nursing alive.

 All nurses need to read Labor Pains and see for themselves what nurses can do if we take action.

Give yourself a Labor Day present  and buy Labor Pains today!

Best Wises,






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Hospitals have adopted Assembly Line models of care. Labor Pains makes it clear that all nurses need to unite & push back against the current that is destroying our professional standards.

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Good nurses help, but great nurses make

Labor Pains makes it clear: All nurses need to unite & push back against the current that is destroying our professional standards.

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Good nurses help, but great nurses make the best medicine. Discover Rita Batchley, RN @thenursesnurse #LaborPains

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