The President unveiled a statue of Rosa Parks yesterday — the little old black lady who had the courage to stay in her seat on the bus while being threatened by the bully white bus driver. With that one action, she really began to make civil rights happen. She moved it forward, she gave it meaning, and others followed her and helped to end segregation.

What are the chances that there would have been a civil rights movement if nurses were leading it?

Why don’t we, as nurses, make the same kind of statement against the injustices we watch happening in the health care system today? Why won’t we stand against the corporations that we know are abusing us and our patients? Why aren’t we fighting for respect, autonomy, and the same rights as other professionals?

There are actions we can take that corporations would have no ammunition against-if we all stood together. Why aren’t we insisting on an education that prepares us for the job we’re promised, and if they don’t deliver, why aren’t we just charting more slowly, and taking the time we need to take care of our patients?

Do you really think that’s harder, takes more courage, or is more dangerous than refusing to give up your seat on a bus that offered people with white skin more respect than those with black or brown skin? Doesn’t that seem incredibly primative and insane now?

We have examples of courage in our history and we all know the cost of change. But there is no progress unless we have the courage to take that risk. Are nurses ever going to do that or are we just going to bitch and moan about a situation we aren’t willing to risk the status quo to change?

Ask yourself…..Would you stay in your seat? Would you chart more slowly, care for those in need despite the threats from administration? Who are we? What are nurses all about? What do we believe in now?

And why do patients vote us the most trusted profession? Just wondering…