AJN: Stunting Nursing’s Potential and Growth?


The following is the article written by Susan Hassmiller and published by Maureen Shawn Kennedy, MA, FAAN, Editor in Chief of the American Journal of Nursing on their blog “Off the Charts” (which by the way is up for an award in 2015 as a top nursing blog):

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Calling All Nurses to Address Health Disparities

January 16, 2015

Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, is senior adviser for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and director of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.

The research on health disparities is stark and continues to increase. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Health Disparities and Inequalities Report–2013 found that mortality rates from chronic illness, premature births, suicide, auto accidents, and drugs were all higher for certain minority populations.

But I believe passionately that nurses and other health professionals can be part of the solution to addressing these disparities. Nurses are privileged to enter into the lives of others in a very intimate way—lives that are often very different than our own.

I understand that it is human nature to be more comfortable with the familiar, but this is not what we are called to in nursing. More than 150 years ago, Florence Nightingale noted a strong link between a population’s health and its economic prosperity, and she called for all people to be treated equally.

My mother told me that when she first entered nurses’ training at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing in 1943, Director Blanche Edwards addressed the students on her conduct expectations for nurse trainees. Part of that lecture—and of the nursing culture absorbed by those being trained at Bellevue—addressed the equality of all human life and how she expected her nurses to treat everyone with equal care and attention.

My mother said that, although she was aware of differences in skin color, socioeconomic status, and country of origin, she believed that Ms. Edwards was right, and she went about caring for people as if they were equal. Everyone deserved the same care. Anything less was simply unethical.

My mother taught me the importance of treating everyone with compassion and equality, and it’s something that I’ve striven to do throughout my career as a nurse.

Workforce diversity is part of the equation. I’m proud that the Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, calls for a more diverse workforce and for all health care practitioners to be culturally competent. I’m grateful that my passion and my livelihood are directing efforts to implement these recommendations. And I hope that history will view the report as a factor that spurred more nurses to advocate for a more diverse workforce and equal care for all. To act any other way would not be in keeping with the privilege of being a nurse.



My DELETED Response to Ms. Susan Hassmiller PhD, RN, FAAN on the AJN Site at 11:02 PM:

“When nurses are not allowed to practice to the fullest extent of licensure or to protect their patients, and when the role and definition of a nurse varies from corporation to corporation, your call to nurses is reduced to nothing but a pipe dream reality. If you want this call to action to come to fruition—advocate for the protection of our professions art and science, for our ability to practice unencumbered by workplace violence, huge nurse to patient ratios, and disruptive physician behavior that strips patients of their rights and nurses of their ability to practice what they want to school and were licensed to do. Go to Capitol Hill. Tell the stories of thousands of nurses who were not allowed to do what nurses do. THEN, you give us a fighting chance to accomplish this goal. Better than that, go find the busiest unit in this country, take off the heels, put some scrubs on and work in the trenches with the others so you actually “get” where we are coming from. Till then, be prepared for more of the same. This is not a patient driven healthcare system, if it were, we wouldn’t be losing a thousand or so lives per day to medical errors that should have and could have been reported before reaching the patient. We exist within a corporate driven and profit driven healthcare system….until that changes, disparities will persist.”

(Note: I find the suppression of views, the suppression of peoples thoughts and ideas extremely disappointing because this another example of what is wrong with Nursing right now, how we have failed to grow and learn from each other. Avoiding spirited debate does nothing for nurses, it fails to teach us how to learn from each other or how to engage in healthy opposing discussions that don’t seek to change the minds of others, but serve to shed light on new perspectives and ways of doing things.)

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About the Journal

The American Journal of Nursing is the oldest and most honored broad-based nursing journal in the world. Peer reviewed and evidence-based, it is considered the profession’s premier journal. AJN adheres to journalistic standards that require transparency of real and potential conflicts of interests that authors and editors may have.

AJN’s mission is to promote excellence in nursing and health care through the dissemination of evidence-based, peer-reviewed clinical information and original research, discussion of relevant and controversial professional issues, adherence to the standards of journalistic integrity and excellence, and promotion of nursing perspectives to the health care community and the public.


The deletion of my responses by AJN’s Editor in Chief Maureen Shawn Kennedy sends a clear message that my nursing perspective isn’t worthy of promotion to the healthcare community and the public.

Shawn, do us all a favor and drop the journalistic integrity thing off of your “about section” because you clearly don’t adhere to any standards that resemble it. And quite frankly, that’s poor role modeling for the Future of Nursing.


  1. Your deleted comments were closer to the mark. Do not give up the fight.

  2. that is like th Arizona Board of Nursing telling people they are concerned with PUBLIC SAFETY ! what a crock that is too!

  3. Love your tags! I have to agree with GaryM’s comment. AZBON is ONLY concerned with their paychecks! They are all a bunch of idiots with a personal agenda which does include corruption of the very ideals which the AZBON was supposed to do, and THAT is protect the PUBLIC SAFETY! They hide too much and make the choices on what they want to hide, and since “Opacity is to breed corruption as Transparency is to give the public truth, knowledge and freedom from oppression”
    Then, I have to say, that the AZBON IS CORRUPT!

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