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RECENT COLUMNS & NEWS
Breast Cancer Is Serious. Pink Is Not.
The New York Times, October 28, 2017
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I have breast cancer. The country is fully pinked out in support of breast cancer screening and research, and though I know all the pink is meant to make me feel good, to tell me that the entire country has my back, I actually find it profoundly alienating. Pink is not a serious color, though cancer is a very serious disease. Pink is about femininity; cancer is about staying alive.
“The conversation between doctor and patient… should be viewed as the single most important tool of medical care,” Danielle Ofri says at the end of her new book, What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear (Beacon Press, 2017). I find her conclusion gratifying, since nurses are trained in the importance of talking with and listening to patients (full disclosure: Ofri quotes me on this topic). In contrast, physicians are trained more in a “chief complaint–solution” model, so conversations often turn into physician monologues. While this is understandable, Ofri says, for the sake of high-quality patient care, it must change.
With the American Health Care Act headed to the Senate — and possibly President Trump’s desk — it’s important to step back from the debate over the bill’s details and recognize two essential truths about American health care.
The contrast between 'choice' for a woman, and 'murder' of a fetus, allows abortion foes to claim moral high ground. It is a false premise.
Nurse burnout won’t go away until the industry changes. But in the meantime, mindfulness can help nurses prioritize their well-being.
The best way to appreciate nurses during Nurses Week is to support legislation that would help them better care for their patients.