Friday, January 25, 2013

Washington Trip

What do you hope to get out of this conference?, Harry asked as we sat having coffee. We had just arrived in Washington after getting up way too early and flying down from Connecticut.
I was hear to attend an AFT gathering of healthcare local presidents from across the country. We had flown down with our field rep, Greg Kotecki, and we were meeting up with Lisa D'Abrosca. Harry Rodriguez and Lisa are presidents at L+M hospital, about 15 miles south of my hospital.
We had gotten up way before dawn because we had 3 meetings on Capital Hill prior to the start of the conference.
The air was frigid, the wind strong, as we visited the different office buildings.
The meeting with our two senators and our congressman were closely related to much of the discussion at the conference.
Changes are coming to healthcare. The Affordable Care Act is fundamentally changing the way healthcare is delivered.
It is our duty, as healthcare professionals, to be a part of the process. If we sit on the sidelines, content to let others direct the changes, we will have failed in our mission.
Lesa Hanson, who worked with me in the ER and was active in the forming of our local, said once in an interview, "I used to think being a nurse meant being an advocate at the bedside. I now realize it also means being an advocate in the boardroom and the capital."
The conference has concluded and I return to my home, my wife, my family, and my work, but I return a different person than I left.
I felt like a sponge at the conference, soaking up knowledge, experience, hope, and energy, just from being around those who are advocating for their coworkers at their hospitals.
What do I hope to get out of this conference?
I hope to become a stronger advocate for my patients and my coworkers.
Isn't that the mission of any healthcare professional?