Thank you for the wonderful article on the power of nursing to improve the health of our communities ("New Directions for Nurses," 12/16/11). I am proud to note that all three of the women featured were graduates of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing. I do feel it's instructive to point out that this type of work is not new for nurses. Nursing has a long history in public health.
It was a bit surprising, however, to see the author refer to "medical training" in the last paragraph, especially when Ms. Neuschel mentions "my nursing background." At a time when the topic of health care is preeminent in public and policy discussions, it is important to differentiate between the practice of medicine and the practice of nursing in order for consumers to understand and to receive the full benefit of what both professions have to offer.
As dean of the School of Nursing, one of the first things I tell my nursing students the day they arrive and what I tell them on the day they graduate is that the practice of nursing is different from other occupations and fields of study - nursing is not so much what they do, but who they are. Nursing is a force for social good, and nurses practice in every setting where health care and social services are needed, not just in those places where the public expects them to be. And we always have.
Katharyn A. May, Professor and dean School of Nursing, UW-Madison
We at East Madison Community Center would just like to thank you for publishing and publicizing the Holiday Wish List each year (Giving, 11/18/2001). We benefit greatly every year, receiving both volunteers and generous donations. We would also like to thank readers for reading the Holiday Wish List and giving their time and items. You truly make a difference in this community. Thank you!
Alison Ahlgrim, for East Madison Community Center staff, volunteers and program participants