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Press Statement by Donna Smith

Community Organizer/Legislative Advocate

National Nurses United/California Nurses Association
National Nurses Organizing Committee

State House, Augusta, Maine
October 19, 2010 11:00 AM
Welcome Center

The Maine State Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (MSNA/NNOC) believes that the number one responsibility of a nurse is to be a patient advocate. In order to effectively advocate for our patients, we must have a healthcare policy that supports a single standard of high quality care for all of our patients. We believe this can best be achieved through a single-payer system. Unfortunately, under today's health care structure in Maine and nationally, our nurses' professional responsibilities and day-to-day abilities to truly advocate for our patients are constantly disrupted by the profit-making and revenue-generating priorities of the insurance, hospital and pharmaceutical industries.

I am blessed to work for the nurses and to carry the message of healthcare for all—to work for the kind of healthcare policy that would have spared me and my husband the loss of our home and everything we worked a lifetime to achieve although we thought we were fully insured. I didn't aspire to the dire circumstances that gave me a role in Michael Moore's film SiCKO. So now I am just a patient who is lucky enough to advocate for and with the nurses who know everyday the suffering and the insanity of a system based on profits rather than patients.

Whether our MSNA nurses are fighting for safe staffing in their contracts or supporting guaranteed, life-long healthcare for all, it is with this in mind: providing and protecting a single standard of high quality care available to all patients should be the top priority of our healthcare system. We are pleased to be here today to learn more about the potential for bringing universal healthcare to all Maine people.

MSNA was founded in 1914. MSNA is part of National Nurses United, the largest nurses union in the nation representing over 151,000 RNs. MSNA/NNOC represents over 2,000 nurses who work in hospitals and agencies throughout the state of Maine. As the largest organization of nurses in the state, MSNA/NNOC is committed to improving the standards of nursing and patient care through collective bargaining, advocacy and organizing.