Guest Opinion: Colorado nurses speak as advocates for all of us
We trust nurses. When I say we, I mean a strong majority of all Americans polled said, for the 16th year in a row, that they rate nurses as the most trusted profession.
Most of us know a nurse and most of us have had trust-earning experiences with nurses in our lives. Like nurses throughout the nation, Colorado’s nurses are charged by their professions with always advocating and acting in the best interests of their patients — and that is you, me, and the people we love. We love the nurses who care for us, and it turns out they are pretty concerned about us, too.
So, when Colorado nurses stood on the Capitol steps in Denver recently and proclaimed their strong support for universal health care, it made perfect sense: Universal health care is what Colorado’s most trusted professionals know will allow them to care for patients without regard for the quality of their private insurance coverage, the size of their bank balances, or the credit card name to be used for co-pays and deductibles. Nurses care for people, not profits.
At the May 6 rally, sponsored by the Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care, nurse leaders like former state Sen. Jeanne Nicholson, RN, MS and Annette Cannon, Ph.D., RN, spoke eloquently about the role of nurses at the patient bedside and in our communities — communities anxious for health care justice.
Nathan Wilkes, whose young son, Thomas, needs expensive medications to treat his hemophilia, spoke up for patients and their caregivers.
Student nurses declared their desire to be part of a profession offering healing to patients, no matter their coverage or cash.
One spoke of a European trip with her parents where the need for emergency care arose. Fearing an enormous, USA-sized bill for emergency care, the family paid a tiny fraction of what they might have at home, and the student nurse knew something needed to change in her own country.
A small and enthusiastic group of Coloradans gathered to listen to speaker after speaker come forward to relay how critical he or she believes it is to secure universal health care and that it means care for all of us. Many held signs declaring health care as a right and supporting improved Medicare for all as one path to a just system.
Gaining energy from one another, the group marched on the sidewalk ringing the Capitol.
Passing motorists honked their approval and the nurses turned the moment into another opportunity for educating and for healing.
The shared joy and belief that in health care, of all things, the power of love would finally overcome the love of power (thank you, MLK, Jr.), was evident among the Colorado nurses gathered for International Nurses Day 2018.
Patients, caregivers, neighbors, friends, families, children, grandchildren, and people of all political beliefs share a common trust — we trust our nurses.
So, let’s listen and get after it, Colorado. Join the movement for guaranteed quality health care for all for life: http://www.couniversalhealth.org.
Donna Smith is a patient advocate who lives in Denver with Larry, her husband of 42 years. Together they have devoted more than half of their married lives to fighting for health care justice for one another and for all.
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