A wishful thinker imagines the future of nursing, where nurses fly first-class and get paid $1 million
By Liz Naftaniel, LPN
November 19. 2002
The nursing profession has quite a history and its future possibilities are interesting to ponder. Let us take you on a journey to the year 2040 as it pertains to the future of nursing.
· Nurses make an average of $1 million per annum. Sports figures make $30,000 per year.
· We'll all be wearing oxygen masks/tanks. Seems we destroyed all our oxygen-producing trees for all that nursing documentation. Huge documentation dump sites litter our countryside where lush foliage and vegetation once thrived.
· It is a first-degree misdemeanor to disrespect a nurse in any way, shape or form.
· The inventor of the nursing care plan was released from the federal asylum for the criminally insane in the year 2039.
· Financial restitution is given to the families of former nurses for the pay they should have received in the past.
· Divisiveness of any kind is outlawed. The year 2023 was significant for the National Conference of Nursing Divisiveness. The yearlong symposium focused on the realization that divisiveness was a great downfall of the nursing profession. Shift against shift, categories of nursing against each other, etc., did nothing for nursing empowerment. Nurses no longer eat their young because experience is respected.
· Nurse consultation fees become reality. If a nurse is consulted for her knowledge, experience and professional opinion, compensation is given.
· Narcotics are no longer locked up. They've lost their allure because they no longer are behind lock and key. Addiction is understood now and has as much stigma as high cholesterol.
· Acetaminophen is now locked in the cabinet and must be counted each shift. This medication is responsible for the horrendous amount of hepatic patients seen worldwide in the year 2040.
· The patient ratio is now 5-to-1. That's five nurses per one patient. Patient acuity was finally addressed in a special legislative session in 2019.
· The Nurses' Bill of Rights now hangs adjacent to the Patients' Bill of Rights in all health care facilities nationwide. The rights are as follows:
· The right to void at least once in a 24-hour period.
· The right to carry crackers for glucose levels under 20.
· If it is an impossibility to find time to void, leg bags must be provided.
· The right to a cup of joe without the consistency of Pennzoil.
· The right to use a nonblack pen.
· A legislative holiday-National Lightning Day-honors a brave nurse who, in the year 2009, was felled by lightning. During a severe lightning storm, she parked in the physicians' parking area at her workplace for safety. Security forced her out of the space. She pleaded to stay, citing her fear of the elements, pointing to the multitude of physician parking available. Her anguish fell on deaf ears as she was relegated to the employee lot, on the far perimeter of the premises, where she was struck by lightning. In honor of this nurse, nurses' parking is directly in front of every facility. National Lightning Day is celebrated every year on April 18 to honor our fallen comrade.
· Nursing assistants are absolutely treasured and revered. They stand side by side with nurses in the year 2040.
· The strange phenomenon common in the early 2000s of adding to the title "nurse" was addressed. Titles such as Nurse Manager, Nurse Entrepreneur, Nurse Legal Adviser were somewhat acceptable. But in the 2010s, it became really strange. Titles such as Nurse Meteorologist, Nurse Paranormal/Psychic Investigator, Nurse Realtor, Nurse Antique Assessor, Nurse Philanthropist, Nurse Traffic-Ticket Consultant were just a bit too much. In the year 2040, the title "nurse" needs no embellishment. It is the greatest honor to be a nurse in 2040.
· The more education a nurse obtains, the closer he/she gets to the patient; conversely, in the early 21st century, education often took a nurse far from the bedside.
· Nurses are honored everywhere. Nurses can walk into restaurants and bypass the wait. Nurses get four-star treatment everywhere. Complimentary first-class airplane seats are given as a way to say thank-you. Citizens respectfully bow when they see a nurse. No-interest mortgage loans and discounts for nurses are commonplace, just small ways by which our society wishes to convey its gratitude.
The nursing profession has always been in the hands of nurses. Nurses just needed to realize this.
As we learn from the past and look toward the future, we finally comprehend that the future is and always will be ours. We can make it anything we wish. Let our profession be the beacon for the next century. If the patient truly is to come first, the caregivers also must come first.
Liz Naftaniel, LPN, works in the telemetry unit at North Ridge Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. An avid writer, her work has appeared in various nursing publications.