The Trump Presidency - What Does It Mean For Nurses?
By Nurse.org Staff Writer
Hopefully, you’ve been able to pick your jaw up from the floor after last night’s surprising (some would even say shocking) results served up by the electorate.
As we wake up this morning to the prospect of a Trump presidency, you may ask yourself, what does it mean for health care -- and your job?
We know you’ll be able to hear plenty of analysis and punditry in the coming weeks about what this means for the country as the world tries to figure itself out.
At Nurse.org, we’re committed to discussing issues that are important to nurses, so we’ll just focus on what a Trump Presidency means for our nursing community.
Disappointment & Elation
The American Nurses Association (ANA) officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for the presidency; therefore, it’s likely that many nurses are waking up very disappointed this morning.
The ANA endorsement was largely based on Clinton’s Senate record and her time as First Lady, calling her a “nurse champion” who “believes empowering nurses is good for patients and good for the country.”
However, almost 63 million voters cast their ballots for Trump, so it is likely that a large segment of nurses are elated with this development.*
In fact, according to a Payscale survey, registered nurses leaned Republican in the previous election, while physicians and doctors leaned Democratically.
Nurses who support Trump also appear to be more vocal on social media, with large numbers of nurses speaking out on both Facebook and Twitter.
Another perspective into how the nursing community feels about Clinton is found in a popular nursing forum; this thread discusses Clinton’s purportedly disparaging remarks about nurses being “nothing more than glorified babysitters” and “handmaidens for doctors.” Though the accusation was later debunked by Snopes, it has still garnered over 430,000 views since July.
Unfortunately, Trump has never held public office, so he has no voting record to refer to; thus, all we have to go on are anecdotal stories dug up via a Google search.
As of last night, one of the few search results for “Trump + Nurse” included a story about a wound care nurse’s wryly-worded obituary. It hilariously stated that rather than facing “the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday.”
Also found on the web was a foot-in-mouth comment about a competing political candidate. During the Republican primary, Trump asserted that Dr. Ben Carson’s only experience with job-creating extended to “maybe a nurse or two.”
And then there was this gem offered by Trump’s Twitter feed in October 2014: “A nurse in Dallas who treated Ebola patient Thomas Duncan was allowed to fly to Cleveland. She should never have been so allowed! The real JV.”
The Morning After
Luckily, a few serious journalists have since come to our attention with analyses that may actually shed some light on what the next four years might look like for nurses.
Advance Healthcare Network discusses Donald Trump’s proposed healthcare plan from several different perspectives , including one from a nurse practitioner and professor, Sunny Hallowell. Hallowell is critical of the “lack of apparent detail and innovation” found in Trump’s plan as well as the “extremely limited discourse” with the nursing community. She also points out that “RN’s are predominantly female (92%),” which could be a problem for a president who has been accused of extreme sexism.
An article by MidlevelU takes on a slightly more positive outlook. Stating that “decreasing reimbursement rates and increased government involvement in healthcare have many MDs making an early exit from medical practice,” thus concluding that Trump’s “take on healthcare would mean favorable trends in the job market for nurse practitioners."
Plenty of comparisons are being drawn to the similarly surprising Brexit vote, with a general apprehensiveness about what the future holds. Luckily, Brexit hasn’t lived up to the gloom and doom on the massive scale that the media predicted. Hopefully, this new chapter in our country’s history will also turn out better than has been predicted; that said, we all need to reserve judgment while remaining vigilant, and allow events to unfold over time.
So, for Trump supporters, congratulations; and for those who supported Hillary, it might be wise to take her words to heart:
“We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power.
"We don't just respect that. We cherish it. It also enshrines the rule of law; the principle we are all equal in rights and dignity; freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values, too, and we must defend them."
*Correction: This post previously stated that over half of the country voted for Trump. In fact, Trump won the majority of electoral votes which are not necessarily reflective of the individual votes cast. Additionally, only 60% of the US population participated in the 2016 election. We regret this error and have updated the post accordingly.