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Children of the city

December 8, 2008 -- Today Heather Knight posted a short item called "The rhyming nurse at S.F. General" on the San Francisco Chronicle blog City Insider. It describes a poem by forensic nurse Carmen Henesy begging San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom not to approve proposed budget cuts that would eliminate the jobs of 3 of the 4 forensic nurses who practice at a clinic that handles "every child sex-abuse case in the city." The poem, "The San Francisco Budget Cuts," is not just a great example of patient advocacy. It also tells the public why skilled nurses are vital to direct care--and shows that nurses are thoughtful and innovative guardians of public health. We commend Henesy for writing her poem, and Knight for posting it.

The piece notes that although the city has been hearing many protests about the proposed health cuts, "this is the first time we've received a plea in rhyme." Henesy and her colleagues at the clinic, located within the city's main public hospital, treat kids who have suffered sexual abuse or child abuse, or witnessed murder or domestic violence. The clinic is the Child and Adolescent Support and Resource Center (CASARC). The item explains that the nurses are trained to conduct interviews to be used as court evidence. It might have added that forensic nurses are also expert in the complex and sensitive task of collecting physical evidence, which can be vital in prosecutions of these cases. Henesy has reportedly worked at the clinic for 21 years--and has been writing poetry for 58 years. While "a few" of Henesy's poems have been published in the past, she plans to present this one to the city's Health Commission:

The San Francisco Budget Cuts

I love San Francisco,
This city by the bay,
But there's a looming darkness,
The song does not portray.

It's not the part that tourists,
Spend dollars on each year,
It's what, I'm sure the mayor,
Hopes visitors never hear.

While some are riding cable cars,
Climbing halfway to the stars,
The Public Health Department,
Is suffering irreparable, lethal scars.

Healthy San Francisco,
Is really just a joke,
The only kind of health care,
Is for the moneyed folk!!

The mayor is downsizing,
The clinics for the poor,
And some that serve the neediest,
Won't be there anymore.

The children of the city,
The most vulnerable of all,
Don't deserve to suffer more,
Just because they're small.

The same goes for the elderly,
Infirm, with many ills,
As they near the end of life,
They're deprived of nursing skills.

For children of this city,
CASARC has been the place,
To begin to heal from sex abuse,
With experts on every case.

LVNs are replacing RNs.
Unskilled workers will take on more,
This poor solution to cutting costs,
Will make incidents and errors soar.

The budget cuts are drastic,
To the poorest of the poor,
Please look at other measures,
Mr. Mayor, I implore.

Please join Carmen Henesy in imploring Mayor Gavin Newsom to keep her position at CASARC and those of her colleages by writing him at this link. Thank you.

See the article "The rhyming nurse at S.F. General" by Heather Knight posted on the San Francisco Chronicle blog City Insider.



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