Posted 3 months ago by Meredith Roberts

As the year comes to a close, we celebrate our accomplishments and reflect on needed change. We ensured there would be a circulating nurse in each hospital operating room, not a float that goes between OR’s, leaving patients at risk.

We achieved getting S.50/H.118 passed, an act relating to insurance coverage for telemedicine service reimbursement. Vermont’s congressional delegation awarded four grants totaling $204,200 to help combat the opioid epidemic in Vermont. 

At the Federal level Representative Welch was our champion pushing legislation to combat the opioid crisis. Welch, a member of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, co-authored three bills, working to increase funding for state wrap-around substance abuse services, attacking the root causes of overprescribing and educating seniors on alternatives to opioids. Senator Sanders also combated the opioid crisis, introducing legislation targeting opioid manufacturers.

HR 6: Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act or the Support for Patients and Communities Act passed and became law.

             Senator Leahy co-sponsored legislation to limit the separation of families at or near ports of entry and protect children affected by immigration enforcement. He also co-sponsored legislation protecting victims of domestic assault and harassment

Now my wish list of New Year resolutions, a nurses wish-list for the holidays.

Nurses are more likely to be attacked at work than prison guards and police officers. After learning at our conference how one in three woman, and one out of six men are sexually assaulted, prevention of violence is high on my list.

Governor Scott recently shared with us his frustration with political polarization, and the need to find common ground; hence, collaboration across parties on topics like workplace violence, and the environment makes my list.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warned us that rapid, far-reaching changes are needed in order to save our planet, for if changes are not made within the next 12 year, coral reefs will vanish, ancient trees will die and extreme weather events will be more common.  Vermont is a beautiful state, and I want to see it stay free of chemical toxins that could harm land, lake, and families.

Nurse staffing is a concern, but without prescribed ratios, for no one staffing model is appropriate for all settings of care or situations. Patient needs change constantly, so quality care requires nurse-driven, flexible ratios. Nurses know that the number of patients a nurse cares for is not a true measure of the ‘“work” they do. Nurses need to have enough staff to be nurses, who can listen to and care for the emotional, mental and spiritual needs of their clients, not just their bodies. The nurse shortage has begun, and to achieve a greater skilled nurse workforce, higher education funding is necessary. Without nurse faculty we cannot maintain enough graduates for adequate staffing, so funding for higher education, and help for financial support for nurses and any level is needed. We must maintain Advanced Practice Nurse prescribing ability. We must consider food as medicine, and less sugary drinks in schools. Happy Holidays, and may our wishes come true.

Let’s make exciting things happen in 2019.