Tsunami: A Conversation with Amanda Trujillo (Part 3 of 3)

by Nursetopia on February 2, 2012

You can read Amanda’s story in her own words; please, do.  The many subsequent posts are for Amanda as well as inspired by her. I thank her for sharing her time and story with me so I can share it with you in hopes you will share it with others.

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Amanda nailed this situation during our call when she said, “This is bigger than me.” She explained her actions – reaching out to colleagues via emails and social media – is not about revenge or getting even with any organization. She understands the Arizona Board of Nursing must investigate her because she was reported, however, the reason she was reported – a case management consult construed as a medical order – is the bothersome part. “We all make mistakes, realize them, use them to change, give thanks for them, and move on. If I had done something wrong, I could take it. If I had done something wrong.”

Amanda’s story is a ripple culminating in a tsunami of change and ideas and discussions. When asked what she’d like other nurses to know, she provided three thoughts:

1. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you see your patients in danger. “If we lose that, we lose the foundational fabric of our profession.” She’s right. Nurses are patient advocates, possibly the last advocate the patient has nearby, often advocating behind the scenes where patients and families do not even see or know. Amanda encourages every nurse to be familiar with the Nursing Code of Ethics, to make it more than a school textbook. Keep it at your side, and use it in daily nursing practice. Amanda admits, “It’s not easy standing up for the patient.” No, no it’s not, especially in light of Amanda’s current situation. Still, it’s our duty and moral obligation to do so.

2. Stop bullying each other. “Nurses have to stop the back-stabbing. When we tear each other down, we diminish our profession.” Without a doubt, it’s the part of nursing culture that is starting to move out of the shadows. It wasn’t until a few years ago when we started talking about bullying within our profession. We must make serious strides toward improvement, and it will take each and every one of us working together to accomplish such an insidious culture shift.

3. One person can make a difference. It happens every day. “It’s the ripple effect,” Amanda pointed out so appropriately (and so inspired this blog series titles). “Sometimes you have to do the scary things to make a difference.” True. Nursing is full of scary moments, few of which I ever thought would be related to educating patients or asking for a case manager to speak to a patient. Still, one person is powerful. It only takes one person – one – to change a patient’s outcome.

Astute suggestions in the face of adversity. I expect nothing less from my nursing colleague. Her words ring in my ears. I hope they linger in yours, as well.

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There are numerous ways to support Amanda Trujillo, RN, MSN. Join the Nurse Up Facebook page. Donate to her cause. (Remember, no nursing advocacy organization is currently standing with her.) Share her story with your nursing colleagues and local media outlets.