NEW YORK NURSE: September 2009
by Roderic Roca, BPS, RN, President, Delegate Assembly
Roderic Roca is a staff nurse in the emergency department at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg, N.Y.
For all of us in the North Country, it is a great relief to have even a little sun and warm weather, at least for a few months.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this area, we are on the Canadian border about 60 miles directly south of Ottawa, Ontario. Living here presents unique challenges in terms of weather and availability of specialized services. Transporting patients to tertiary centers two to four hours away is always a challenge in a largely rural area. As I speak with people from throughout New York State, it is evident there are differences in our lifestyles. It is also apparent, however, that we have much in common.
The fact that we are nurses brings us together with a myriad of common problems, issues, and concerns. It matters not whether you practice in Manhattan or Plattsburgh, Nyack or Buffalo. We all see many of the same problems and issues each day.
We see those who are uninsured or underinsured who often come to us when they can no longer bear their problem and it has reached a critical point. We see those who have suffered from violence in their homes or elsewhere. We care for those who the rest of society has turned their backs on. There is a commonality among us in that we are there for others, no matter where we practice.
While we have differences, we need to acknowledge them, build an understanding of one another, and go forward. We have many challenges facing us in today’s healthcare environment: adequate staffing, fewer numbers of nurses, the challenge of ever-increasing documentation requirements, and the role we will play in reshaping the delivery of care in the future – to name a few.
It is time to look to the future, acknowledge differences, embrace commonalities, and build a better healthcare environment for all.