1. O'Connor, Judy RN, CPCE, LCCE, MA

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Regarding the Second Opinion Column, "Should a staff nurse's age be a consideration in making patient and shift assignments?" (MCN, 30 [2], March)


My answer is, yes, as ONE of the considerations. Stamina does play a part in the physical demands of staff nursing. But experience, clinical judgment, and confidence play larger roles. Older nurses are invaluable in identifing formerly common childhood viral exanthems when an outbreak occurs, or dressing an anacephalic newborn so the parents see the beauty in their child and not experience horror.


And then there's technology. What if there isn't adequate auxiliary power? Can you set up a closed chest drainage system using empty glass jugs? No TENS unit? Can your hands release tension and relieve pain? We older nurses have these and other fantastic clinical skills.


Nursing seems intent on "working it's aging members to death." Let us begin to reverse that process and value the competence and skills of all registered professional nurses.


Judy O'Connor, RN, CPCE, LCCE, MA