Well I learned a new term today. I was reading an excellent article on the current state of affairs with NP’s billing under MD’s billing numbers at reduced rates, and how insurance companies charge the patients the same rate and copay but are ‘profiting’ from the reduction in NP’s income. The article recommended that professional organizations, NP journals and schools of nursing should use their platforms as a ‘bully pulpit’ to explain that reduced NP reimbursement is not saving the patient any money, and in fact only increases the cost of healthcare.
Well I had to look up the definition of ‘bully pulpit’ in the C-Span dictionary because I found the notion so intriguing. Here is is:
This term stems from President Theodore Roosevelt’s reference to the White House as a “bully pulpit,” meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word “bully” as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful.
Isn’t that interesting? The word ‘bully’ to me has a negative connotation – in my mind it depicts lurking bad guys and big kids who’ve been held back in school for years posturing themselves to pounce on those meeker than themselves (like the kid with yellow teeth in ‘The Christmas Story’). But Roosevelt apparently used the term to mean superb or wonderful.
I would love to think that our professional organizations, schools of nursing and journals were superb and wonderful. I would love to think that they had the pull or the influence to make some of the iniquities of professional practice right. I would love to think that the medical community would be supportive of our efforts. Unfortunately, I think that nursing, while striving to become a profession, isn’t there yet. We’re too busy eating our young and trying to justify our existence while working in the trenches to provide excellent patient care in an environment that doesn’t value or reimburse us according to what we do. We are bent on arguing over alphabet soup after our names, levels of educational preparation, whether or not we are professionals and if so, how to define ourselves as professionals. There’s no time for advocacy.
So here’s the challenge – yet another one. Let’s stop arguing over whether we should get doctoral degrees, be called ‘Dr.’, how we fit into the system, what level of preparation is better than another etc. Let’s look to our professional organizations as ‘bullies’ and put them on a pulpit to advocate for us. We provide excellent, collaborative, evidence-based care to our patients everyday. This should continue to be our focus.