Obama, Rock Star for Nurses

By Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, AJN interim editor-in-chief (sent yesterday from her Iphone)

So it’s Wednesday afternoon, June 16, and I’m here in Washington, DC, attending the 2010 House of Delegates meeting of the American Nurses Association (ANA). It’s easy to find the sessions—one just has to follow all the middle-aged women walking in one direction through the lobby (full disclosure: that includes me).

ANA president Rebecca Patton opened the session and announced that there would be a “special surprise guest.” She got about halfway through announcements about parliamentary procedure, using the electronic voting machines, and the other housekeeping details when I noticed a rather large muscular young man with an earpiece slip in the door near me. I noticed several clones of him at each exit. Our “special guest” had arrived.

Patton introduced President Barack Obama and he received a rock star welcome from the approximately 800 attendees. He said he came because he promised he would if nurses supported his campaign and he won the presidential election. He proclaimed, “I love nurses.” (I wonder: when he goes to other groups, does he say, “I love physicians” or “I love auto workers”?) He retold the story of how nurses took care of his wife and daughters when his daughters were born and how the nurses “got him through” when one of his daughters had meningitis and how they gave her such good care.

Obama then spoke about the changes in health care brought about by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act he signed  into law in March. He left the stage and spent almost five minutes among the audience, shaking hands as he slowly made his way out. The Hulk clones quietly disappeared and Patton came back to conduct business.

It all seemed so ho-hum after the rock star had left.

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Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.


  1. thenonconformer June 28, 2010 at 3:48 am

    In Canada Nurses as well are clearly too often undeniably too mismanaged and pretentious services and pretentious management is generally the way things are still done: for the last few decades too now. While clearly the patients in Hospitals, nursing homes, tend to be sick often now still even seven days a week, 24 hours a day, the nursing staff clearly as a whole are not adequate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Now in a typical medical facilities there tends to be at least 3 types of classes of Nurses and related services being provided. The main day shift of Nurses tend to be the generally the one the best, offering the best, first class services. But even here there tends to be a mixture of both very high caliber workers and also some very bad ones too. The second shift of after noon and evening shift, services tend to be the one next composed of second class nurses, those who do generally themselves do offer a less substantial services. And next the late night and weekend nurses tend to be composed mostly of third class nurses, the undeniable worst, poorer Nurses, workers services being offered. The Nursing supervisors themselves tend to place the unwanted, the least desirable nurse for the late night and weekend shifts.

    California’s nursing disciplinary system is disgraceful. The state currently does not have a standardized method of monitoring suspensions or firings of registered nurses. The major nursing unions in California, opposed a bill for, primarily, a mandatory reporting clause that requires all employers to notify regulators about any Nurses firings for serious violations, such as gross negligence or physically harming a patient. California’s Board of Registered Nursing recently discovered that 3,500 registered nurses have been disciplined in other states.

    Canadian health care ranks second to last compared with seven industrialized nations, according to a recent report by a private U.S. foundation that monitors and researches international health-care systems. The Commonwealth Fund studied the health-care systems of Canada, the U.S., Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the U.K., and found that only the American system ranks lower than Canada’s.

    It is still a criminal act now for any doctor, nurse, hospital administrators, medical supervisor not to provide medical care to any seniors. How many have been prosecuted for this in the last year?


  2. […] interim editor-in-chief. See Shawn’s other blog posts from the ANA House of Delegates meeting here and […]

  3. peggy mcdaniel June 17, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Thanks for that fun story. I could totally picture the “clones” and the scene. Wish I could have been there too!

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