CALTCM Stands to Promote Voting Rights

As high-achieving health care professionals, we pride ourselves on our ability to do it all…take call for a colleague on a holiday, I can do that! Pull a double shift, no problem! Med cart audit before survey, I’m on it! “Volunteer” to organize the holiday party, sure! We have grown used to the fact that we are in an industry that is highly stressful, and we are expected to do more with less. We have all embraced this challenge because we have a passion for this field, we believe that our patients deserve our best, and our colleagues depend upon us to deliver maximum effort, every day.

Unfortunately, in our rush to do it all, and to take care of everyone, many of us have neglected the important task of taking care of ourselves. In many cases, we don’t eat properly, don’t get enough rest or exercise, suffer sleep deprivation, and sacrifice time with our families. 

It is a problem that touches every professional within our industry. On top of all of the above challenges, we often feel under appreciated. CNAs are overworked and underpaid, medical directors may receive calls at all hours, nurses feel the day is one long paperwork slog, and consultants (pharmacists, psychologists, and others) make recommendations that are too often ignored.  

Unfortunately, in some cases it seems we as an organization are causing this feeling of under appreciation to become even worse. CALTCM recognized non-physician members as full members almost 20 years ago.  But the AMDA House of Delegates decision two years ago to not extend voting membership to Pharmacists and other PhD members of the PA-LTC team was looked on by many of us as a diminution of our importance in this field. If a doctorate-holding healthcare professional is not seen as being “worthy” of directly impacting the direction of our organization, why would we expend the extra effort (and expense) of being participating members? This is a situation that is a bit of a “self-inflicted wound”; the contributions of CALTCM members who are not physicians, NPs or PAs over my almost 15 years as a leader in the organization have been quite notable, and it should be obvious that AMA voting rights be extended beyond MDs, DOs, NPs, and PAs to all professional PhDs who work in PA-LTC setting. Many of my non-prescribing colleagues have expressed great frustration at this decision, and for some it is seen as the “last straw.”

We as an organization cannot afford to alienate and disempower so many of our members. It is our hope that this decision can be revisited and reversed in the very near future.  To that end, CALTCM has introduced a resolution at the AMDA House of Delegates in April, with co-sponsorship from many other state chapters. We hope that this time around, they will get it right.

In the end, all we can do is honor our oaths and continue to do the best we can for our residents.

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