Health professionals focus on declining patient care.
October 20, 2003
LAFAYETTE — About 300 area nurses and their supporters rallied in Parc Sans Souci on Sunday to draw attention to what they say is a declining quality of patient health care in Acadiana.
Acadiana Independent Nurses, a recently formed organization of area health care workers, hosted the event to foster communication between hospital administrators and nurses.
Member Erin Card said that the turnout was fair, and it was encouraging to see a couple of hospital administrators at the event. Card said about 50 nurses joined A.I.N. during the rally.
Several speakers addressed the crowd, including registered nurses and politicians. A band and a comedian entertained.
Louise Fredricks, a registered nurse and member of A.I.N. said that patients needed to accept responsibility for their own health and become informed consumers, to get second opinions and to question hospitals about the quality of the their care and their nurse to patient ratio.
Worley Firmin walked around the park, dressed in a pair of overalls, with a giant red, white and blue button on the breast pocket, and a straw hat with the brim turned up.
While Firmin was having fun, he was also at the park to lend his support to local nurses.
Firmin said everyone should be concerned with the nursing profession.
“Sooner or later, you’re going to need health care,” he said.
Firmin is a lab technician at University Medical Center, and two of his children are nurses — one in Lafayette, one in Dallas.
“We’re at a critical stage for nursing right now,” he said.
Tawna Pounders, executive director of the Louisiana State Nurses Association said, “Registered nurses in Lafayette are as good as any in the state.”
She said that while the nursing population as a whole is aging, nurses in Lafayette are younger, with half of them under the age of 40. Pounders also said that the nursing program at UL Lafayette graduates some 110 nursing students every year.
“We need to keep our young, educated and smart nurses here in the state,” Pounders said.
State Sen. Mike Michot said that health care was a driving force in the local economy and the unfortunately, when it comes to cutting the state’s budget, education and health care usually are the first areas to be cut.