January 2018

Women’s Health

Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc., in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Henrietta Szold Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing, honors the nursing profession and reaffirms support to enhance nursing education and promote supportive workplace policies.

Planting the seeds of what would become the foundation of modern Israeli healthcare, Henrietta Szold led the effort to sponsor travel and salary for two nurses to provide care in Palestine. Her efforts quickly grew in to the creation of an exemplary center for nursing education. In Israel, the Henrietta Szold Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing offered the nation's first baccalaureate and clinical masters nursing programs in Israel — elevating its strong technical training to a comprehensive, evidence-based standard of education. Nursing is global in nature and supporting it — not just in Israel but in the United States of America, is of vital importance to everyone. Healthcare systems affect all nurses, patients and outcomes of healthcare worldwide. In the United States, Hadassah's Nurses Councils were founded as an embodiment of practical Zionism to support the School of Nursing, and has expanded to include professional networking, continuing education opportunities, and fundraising for Hadassah Medical Organization.

The skilled and compassionate care provided by nurses is an integral part of patient outcomes. Nurses are central drivers of the movement to educate women and men about healthy life choices that promote wellness, disease prevention and early detection — empowering people with knowledge to make appropriate and informed medical decisions for themselves and their families. Nurses often have the most patient contact hours and are frequently the first to notice changes in patient health status. Patients must recognize the immense value nurses bring to the decision-making process.

The current nursing shortage in America strains healthcare systems and endangers patient health outcomes. Lower nurse staffing levels are associated with longer hospital stays, and elevated rates of infection, increased failure-to-rescue incidents, and higher patient mortality. Strenuous hours, increased patient loads, and expanded responsibilities put nurses at risk for workplace injury and professional burnout. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 1.09 million nursing vacancies in the healthcare system by 2024 due to high turnover and increasing demand. Strains on nursing school capacity — due to aging faculty, fewer clinical training placements, and limited funding — further compound the shortage.

To support the nursing profession and address the American nursing shortage, Hadassah calls on local, state, and federal governments to:

  • financially support existing nursing education, accessibility and workforce development programs.
  • promote the training, recruitment and retention of quality nurses, including advanced practice nurses;
  • improve working conditions for nurses, including decreased patient-loads and increased wages and benefits, supportive services and opportunities for advancement;
  • increase workplace safety measures;
  • encourage the training of nurses to be prepared to respond to mass casualties; and raise the public profile of the nursing profession, including elevating the Chief Nurse Officer to the designation of National Nurse for Public Health.

Hadassah encourages all nurses and units to promote nursing and Hadassah's deep connection to the profession throughout the 2018 milestone celebration year.

Hadassah's Policy Statements represent the organization's official stance on a wide variety of issues facing our nation, Israel and other international matters of concern. Policy Statements are debated and voted on at national meetings by Hadassah’s national board and delegates from our membership. Once approved, statements become official policies of the organization and serve to define Hadassah's overall agenda and advocacy priorities. Hadassah, as a charitable organization classified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is prohibited from any direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, candidates for public office.