The Battle for Patient Safety: Nurses vs. the System

Ben H.

Hatched by Ben H.

Aug 25, 2023

3 min read


The Battle for Patient Safety: Nurses vs. the System


In the complex world of healthcare, the pursuit of patient safety remains at the forefront. Nurses, the backbone of the healthcare system, have been tirelessly advocating for improvements that ensure the well-being of patients. However, they have often been labeled as greedy for demanding too much. On the other hand, the system seems to be driven by profit and self-interest, with various stakeholders reaping benefits while patient safety takes a backseat. This article explores the clash between nurses and the healthcare system, highlighting the urgent need for change.

The Greedy Nurses:

Nurses are often accused of prioritizing their own desires over patient safety. However, a closer look reveals that their demands are rooted in genuine concerns for improving patient outcomes. Nurses advocate for patient safety improvements, including system enhancements, safe patient ratios, adequate staffing, and fair pay. These requests are not driven by greed but by the understanding that well-supported nurses lead to better patient care.

The System's Greed:

While nurses fight for patient safety, it is important to acknowledge the inherent greed within the healthcare system itself. Health systems invest billions in private equity, prioritizing financial gain over patient well-being. Health insurers buy back billions in stock, diverting resources from patient care. Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) reap enormous profits while delivering questionable value. Medical device companies enjoy disproportionately high profit margins, often at the expense of patients. CEOs earn exorbitant salaries, with the average CEO earning 350 times more than the average worker. Furthermore, Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) legally receive kickbacks, and hospitals even sue the poor for unpaid medical bills. These practices highlight the true face of greed within the healthcare system.

The Threat to 340B Drug Discounts:

One crucial aspect of patient care is access to affordable medications. The 340B drug discount program provides eligible hospitals with substantial discounts on drugs for low-income and uninsured patients. However, recent actions by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) have raised concerns. The removal of guidance that allowed 340B-eligible hospitals to prescribe discounted drugs at off-site clinics before registration has created uncertainty. If this guidance is not reinstated, hospitals may face significant delays in accessing these vital discounts. This jeopardizes the ability to provide affordable medications to those who need them the most.

Connecting the Dots:

Examining the issues faced by nurses and the threats to patient care, it becomes evident that there are common points that connect them. Both nurses and patients rely on a healthcare system that often prioritizes profit over safety. Nurses demand improvements to enhance patient outcomes, while the system indulges in practices that compromise patient well-being. It is clear that a unified approach is required to address these issues and create a healthcare system that truly serves the needs of patients.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Advocate for Transparency: Nurses and patients alike should demand transparency from healthcare systems regarding financial practices, executive compensation, and resource allocation. By shedding light on these areas, it becomes harder for greed to thrive.
  • 2. Strengthen Nurse-Patient Relationships: Nurses should focus on building strong relationships with their patients, fostering trust and open communication. This connection allows nurses to advocate more effectively for patient safety and demand the necessary improvements.
  • 3. Collaborate and Mobilize: Nurses, patient advocacy groups, and healthcare professionals should come together to form a united front against the system's greed. By mobilizing and collaborating, they can amplify their voices and push for meaningful change.


The battle for patient safety pits nurses against a healthcare system driven by greed. While nurses advocate for improvements that prioritize patient well-being, the system often indulges in practices that undermine it. The recent threats to the 340B drug discount program highlight the urgent need for change. By acknowledging the common points that connect nurses and patients, and by taking actionable steps to address the system's greed, we can work towards a healthcare system that truly prioritizes patient safety.

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