Patient Advocacy: Discovering New Ways to Fight for Patients

"Nurses have the capacity to create change. Never lose your passion for patient advocacy!"

Jamie L. McBride, MSN, RN, CCTC
Solid Organ Transplant Program Manager

In 2012, I joined the Veterans Health Care Administration (VHA) after a lengthy career in Transplant Medicine in the community. I immediately noticed a difference between the two systems, and knew that change was needed. Numerous research articles noted that Veterans were disadvantaged over those with Medicare and private insurance, and faced undue hardships and even death while awaiting life-saving procedures.

After meeting resistance at all levels of the VHA, I filed for protection as a whistleblower and approached the Office of Inspector General (OIG) in 2013. After a lengthy investigation they found in my favor but refused to look at all the submitted issues. With no other options available, I turned to the Office of Special Council (OSC) and Congress. In January 2018, the OSC found in my favor against the VA and reported their findings to our legislative and executive branches of government.

As of this writing, we have three bills working their way through the House and Senate that will mandate transplant locally in the community for each Veteran. After years of media interviews and long nights working with veterans groups and congressional staff, I am living proof that nurses have the capacity to create change. Never lose your passion for patient advocacy!