The nursing profession has been famous for advocating since the very beginning. With Florence Nightingale advocated for a change of practices which impacted her patients and patient outcomes for many years to come (Sanford, 2012). The nursing profession has changed since then. Although nurses continue to be advocates for their patients, nurses also become advocates for change in their profession. Nurses nowadays write letters to congress and local and national leaders and sign petitions to evoke the change necessary to combat the profession’s many problems. Problems that start locally and evolve to be national problems impacting the healthcare system.
Being a pediatric provider, I have seen the impact of COVID 19 on the psychiatric health of the pediatric population in the El Paso area. One of my good friends, nursing executive, nursing advocate, and mentor is Dr. Tewianna Norris. Dr. Norris specializes in mental health and currently working as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, providing care to the pediatric population. As a primary care nurse practitioner, I began to see the rise in the number of mental health problems in children and brought it to the attention of the Emergence Health Network. The process of referral and getting treatment for the pediatric population was tedious. Many patients were not receiving the care they needed due to the communication barriers between the two medical offices. Dr. Norris worked with our clinic’s management and primary care providers to develop a system to simplify the referral process for pediatric patients. As a result, since the establishment of the new system, pediatric patients from primary care clinics that are referred to Emergence Health Network receive immediate and high-quality care.
Dr. Norris is a Chief Nursing Officer of the Emergence Health Network, one of El Paso’s mental health providers. Dr. Norris noticed that the nurses at the Emergence Health Network were leaving, and the turnaround rate rose. Dr. Norris sent an email to the nurses employed at the Emergence Health Network and noted that nurses’ main complaint was a low compensation rate. After researching the rates for nursing salaries for nurses with similar experience at the local hospitals, Dr. Norris contacted the management and presented the numbers to them. As a result, the nurses received a substantial increase in their pay rate, and the turnaround rate dropped down to almost zero