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"Hosp. workers"? Problem solved!

March 16, 2007 --Yesterday's New York Times Crossword puzzle included the clue: "Hosp. workers." Today's solution confirmed that the answer was: "RNS." We assume this is a response to nurses' protests that the February 26 puzzle called for the answer "RNS" with the dismissive clue, "I.C.U. helpers." (We can't say for sure because to our knowledge the Times has not responded to the many nurses who sent it letters of protest.) Certainly, "workers" is a more accurate description of what nurses do than "helpers." But it is also a grudging, bare-minimum recognition, one that seems crafted to be unassailable from any quarter. The clue shows zero willingness to admit, or to educate the public, that nurses actually save lives and improve outcomes under an autonomous practice model. I.C.U. nurses in particular play the central role in the skilled care of critical patients. The new clue will do nothing to remedy the damage done by the earlier one, or to address the widespread undervaluation of nursing. Yesterday's puzzle is credited to Michael Shteyman. The Times puzzle editor is Will Shortz.

See the crossword puzzle below.

We encourage Mr. Shortz and his crossword "workers" to make amends for this clue by running many others that reflect the central, expert role skilled nurses actually play in patient outcomes.

Please write a letter to Will Shortz and tell him exactly what nurses do to save lives and improve patient outcomes and why they deserve the clue "ICU experts" and others of similar stature. Please send us your letter at will snail mail your letters to Will Shortz and the NYT Ombudsman to the following addresses unless you tell us that you have done so already. Thank you!

Mr. Will Shortz
Crossword Puzzle Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036-3959

Mr. Byron Calame
Public Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036-3959

































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