Discussion: Life Support (Chap. 1-2)

Here they are – the first of my discussion questions for Life Support: Three Nurses on the Front Lines. There is so much to unpack here, so I’ll be posting additional questions as I get through the book.

Feel free to answer any of these, add your own, or simply discuss in the comments below.

Chapter 1 – “The Tapestry of Care”

  1. Do you agree with the author that nursing is an “invisible” profession? Why or why not?
  2. The author claims that popular culture of the 1990s portrayed doctors as responsible for both curing and caring and left nurses out of the picture. Do you think contemporary media, medical shows, etc. do a better job?
  3. How do you think our profession would change if we stopped using the term “medicine” to describe our field and started using “health care”?

Chapter 2 – “The Care of Strangers”

  1. The book provides multiple examples of nurses advocating for patients in the face of injustice, inadequate medical care, limited resources, etc. Do you think their actions are typical for nurses today or would they be considered going “above and beyond”? What barriers to providing this level of advocacy exist in our current practice?
  2. For Nancy Rumplik, nursing was one of the few professions available to women when she was young. Now that more and more women are entering medical professions and many of us have been told we are “too smart” for nursing, do you think that the public perception of nursing is changing? For better or for worse?
  3. Suzanne Gordon notes that nursing education is a source of conflict – “the setting of the educational standards that determine who is a registered nurse” (p. 40). Do you believe that the multiple levels of nursing education available are beneficial to nursing? Why or why not? Do you believe our inability to standardize nursing education has contributed to the hierarchy within health care (p. 41)?
  4. Do you believe that the state-level nursing practice standards help or harm nursing? Would you ever support the idea of federal legislation to develop a baseline for our practice?
  5. Do you think that nursing is still viewed by hospital administrators as a “frustrating necessity” (p. 43)?
  6. How do you deal with the so-called “difficult patients” in your practice? Do you agree that getting angry at patients is unacceptable for a nurse?

*Note: Page numbers are based on the edition that I read.

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