AJN, American Journal of Nursing:
Bury, Michael D. RN
Some believe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a saving grace; to others, it's the demise of our health care system ("What Future for the Affordable Care Act?" Policy and Politics, January). Regardless of one's opinion of the legislation, an overhaul of society's perception of health and health care should be nursing's priority.
Nurses shouldn't be persuaded to educate the public that the Affordable Care Act is the best option for health care reform. Instead, the public needs to be educated on the importance of behavioral changes, such as healthy diets, exercise, and follow-up care. We must implement and support programs that educate people on how to care for themselves, rather than focusing on how care should be funded. Changing health habits will have an immediate and long-lasting impact on the health care delivery system.
The political action committees that represent nursing's interests in regard to health care reform should stay consistent in their work, but nurses should be united first on healthy lifestyles. Our professional organizations must be diligent, ensuring that all nurses' views on political matters are equally represented while advocating for our patients' best interests. We must pursue change in a bipartisan manner that unites nurses across the country.
Michael D. Bury, RN
© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.