January 13, 2008, 6:20 pm

A Notice for the POTUS


Goodness, gracious, great balls o’ fire!

I swear I am getting teary-eyed as I type.

The beauty….

The majesty….

The cap!

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the epitome of the nursing cap.

A true 10/10 on the Emergiblog Nurse Cap Rating Scale.

Oh, I know, it doesn’t have any ribbon across it and yes, that is usually a requirement for a high rating on the ENCRS.

But she wears it so perfectly, perkily perched just so, no occipital slippage to mar the nursing image.

God didn’t rest on the seventh day, he created this nursing cap. Or, if you prefer, it evolved from a starched piece of cotton!

Either way, it is a masterpiece of design and craft.


I wonder if I will actually be able to wear my cap during Nurses’ Week this May. Last year was the accident, so I was off for the week. The year before that hubby was in the hospital so I was off for the week.

I swear I am going to wear it this year no matter where I am or what I am doing!


To the next President of the United States,

The state of health care in this country should be high on your agenda once you are in office. Somehow, some way, we need to see that people have the means to pay for health care and that health care providers are compensated appropriately for delivering that care.

Whether our new system is based on private insurance, government oversight, universal coverage or the health plan du jour, one thing is certain.

We will need registered nurses. Lots of them. Many, many more than we have right now. Many, many more than our current system of nursing education is able to produce.

Nursing care is the primary reason for hospitalization. Nurses bring health care to the community and promote wellness. Advanced practice nurses can act as primary care providers, particularly in areas where our medical colleagues are scarce.

And we are losing them through retirement and burn out faster than we can replace them.


Oh, there is no dearth of potential nurses in the United States. There are so many applicants that nursing students are often chosen by lottery and many wait years to get into a program.

There is not enough space in our current nursing programs, because there aren’t enough nursing educators.

This must be rectified.

  • Funding for nursing education must be increased. More funding means more educators can be hired. More educators means more nurses graduating.
  • Provide incentives to nurses for obtaining advanced degrees and choosing education as their focus. Loan forgiveness programs. Low interest educational loans for nurses. Grants and scholarships that are based on the willingness to educate future nurses.

We must begin producing the nursing leaders who will educate the next generation of the profession in the numbers required to provide the health care this nation needs.


The average age of a registered nurse in this country is close to fifty. We bouncing baby boomers are aging right along with the nurses.

Who is going to take care of us in twenty years?

The answer lies in the nursing student who begins their studies today.

Let’s make sure the nursing educators are in place to produce those nurses.


  • sean

    January 13, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Once again, well said!

    need I say more? 🙂

  • PM, SN

    January 13, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    The average age of a nursing educator is even HIGHER. I think they told us somewhere around 57 at the NSNA convention in MO.

    Right on about the faculty shortage. MSNs can make so much more in Practice than they can teaching, Im surprised anyone teaches us at all.

    In my home state we’ve done a couple of things to try to address this: First off, we have a system in place where RNs can get money/vouchers to go back to school and get an MSN, to help defray the cost of missing work, childcare, etc. Secondly, some schools have started using preceptors in RN preparation, so clinical cohorts can be larger (by 2x usually), the preceptors (BSNs) get training as clinical educators and vouchers to get their MSNs, and students get more individual attention and collegiality. Win-win-win.

    There’s no guarantee any of those preceptors will eventually teach, though (although they’ll all probably have to train junior faculty at some point)…but what else can be done? 2/3rds of the RNs out there have ADNs, if we can at least increase the number of MSNs that should -help- at least, right?

  • Sian

    January 13, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Surely the scale should be call the Nurses Uniform Rating Scale by Emergiblog… or the NURSE.

    Keep up the great blogging.

  • A Notice for the POTUS · Scholarships

    January 13, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    […] Original post by Some Rights Reserved […]

  • Ali

    January 13, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Which would explain why American hospitals are so aggressively trying to recruit Canadian nurses… both new graduates and experienced.

  • Julie

    January 14, 2008 at 4:01 am

    Same issues apply here in the UK where the average age of a nurse is also around 50. We also need our governments / nursing regulators to find a way of encouraging dual roles – clinical nursing plus education, clinical nursing plus management plus education so that you don’t have to leave the bedside to be an educator or a manager for that matter.

  • Panda

    January 14, 2008 at 5:44 am

    What I am seeing, is that the new nurses I work with are returning to school, but their plans have nothing to do with going into education…they think they will see riches from becoming a Nurse Practitioner. Frankly, some of them scare me…they have very little time actually taking care of patients but plan to become primary care providers less than 2 years after becoming a BSN. We need to put focus on going into those education degrees, not just higher education. We also need to encourage bedside nursing–after all, that is the bread and butter of nursing.

  • jen

    January 14, 2008 at 7:21 am

    re: the cap–I think it does have a black stripe, it’s just so close to her hair colour it’s hard to see… does that bump her up to an 11.5/10??

  • Labor Nurse

    January 14, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Kim, I totally agree! My personal opinion and endorsement goes to Hillary. She knows healthcare, and anytime she has gone on the “front lines” to see what it’s like, she’s done it shadowing an RN. (I don’t want to start a political debate here, just wanted to point this out).

    I’ve been an RN for 10 years. I am in one of the smallest age brackets of nurses (I’m 31). And I have to say I am sad that I will be leaving “bedside” nursing once I obtain my MSN. It’s bittersweet, really. It’s great for my career, but I am not helping the problem of the nursing shortage. Perhaps being a nurse educator as well will help redeem this??

  • Mother Jones RN

    January 14, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Gee, Kim. Maybe you should run for president. Think of it. You could wear your nurses cap in the White House everyday while you fix the health care system.


  • Katie Bee

    January 14, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Well said, I think at least secretary of HHS would work. You are right, there is no one way to fix the health insurance system, but the one principle is no one should have to be bankrupt for their health reasons. And nurses have to be a part of the solution.

  • Candy

    January 14, 2008 at 10:57 am

    I sharpened the pic and brightened it a bit and lo and behold it looks like there’s a WHITE stripe about an from the rim. Or this is a two-layer cap — either way, it’s a beaut!

    Now, about the faculty shortage — you’re on your way to becoming one, I hope!

  • Candy

    January 14, 2008 at 10:57 am

    oops — that should be a white stripe about an INCH from the rim!

  • therapydoc

    January 14, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    And people like you, Kim, have to tell them that it’s not impossible to get a PhD. No pain, no gain.

  • […] How will you address the Nursing Shortage? […]

  • […] at Emergiblog wrote in her latest post, A Notice for the POTUS: Oh, there is no dearth of potential nurses in the United States. There are so many applicants that […]

  • NPs Save Lives

    January 16, 2008 at 10:02 am

    I would have loved to teach but reality shows us that the money is in primary practice. I will teach eventually because I adore students but it will be after my huge student loan is paid down. Floor nursing is rewarding but the hours and the backbreaking work is too much for most of us over 40 crowd.(not that we’re old, just worn out!) Great post Kim!

  • My Own Woman

    January 16, 2008 at 4:39 pm


  • Angry Male Nurse

    January 21, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Hey! I graduate in May and I am already making planny plans to get my butt off the floor. I give myself two years. I’ll be 33. Some kind of advance practice, not sure what it is yet…

    Just too much shit to put up with on the floor. It’s not my calling in life to remind myself on a moment to moment basis: this is what I must tolerate to be a patient advocate…

    Cheers and good luck to everyone with exciting career plans with their chosen profession!

  • Mary-Jo

    February 3, 2008 at 5:44 am

    Great blog! Part of the reason nursing is in this mess is that every other discipline provides fellowships which include free tuition and a living stipend for doctoral students who are preparing to teach at the university level and do research. Nurses like myself are not in a position to drop out of the work force and invest tens of thousands of dollars in tuition for 5 or 6 years while preparing to teach. Unfortunatly we have done this to ourselves because 50 years ago when nursing was moving into higher education the nursing profession itself refused to accept that the future of nursing education was in the university, and that scientific knowledge and technology would outgrow the apprenticeship model Florence Nightingale developed in the 19th century. Medicine made that move in the early 20th century and now is the dominant force in healthcare, despite the vital role nurses play. This apprenticeship model of education also sets up the underdog role nurses continue to have. Having been a nurse for over 30 years it disgusts me to see how nursing leaders continue to fight the same loosing battles. I hate to be so negative but everything I’m reading here reinforces the same old underdog paradigm.

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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