A Health System's Name Change Irks Nurses

Jennifer Thew, RN, January 18, 2017

RNs are questioning whether the University of Michigan Health System's new name, Michigan Medicine, truly reflects the organization's mission.

Marschall S. Runge, MD
Marschall S. Runge, MD

The University of Michigan Health System has changed its name to Michigan Medicine, but nurses at the academic medical center are not thrilled with the new moniker.

"The money spent on implementing and marketing the new name would be better spent on patient care," Katie Oppenheim, RN, Chair of the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association (UMPNC/MNA), said in a media release.

"The term 'medicine' is almost exclusively associated with physicians, yet so many other professionals contribute to the treatments and breakthroughs here," Oppenheim said.

"We are concerned that time and resources are being squandered on a marketing ploy that ultimately diminishes the contributions of a diverse and dedicated staff."

The news release issued by the Michigan Nurses Association states that nurse managers raised concerns that the name change did not reflect the health system's broad mission.


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"To me and others, 'medicine' has negative connotations. You only seek medicine once you are already sick," said Heather Roe, RN, UMPNC/MNA Vice Chair.

"UMHS's mission is broader than that. We deserve a name that makes it clear that we support health comprehensively, not just through medicine but also with prevention, research, education and other professional supports including nursing."

A Three-part Mission
The name change better reflects the organization's three-part mission of patient care, education, and research, Marschall S. Runge, MD, PhD, dean of the University of Michigan Medical School, executive vice president for medical affairs, and CEO of Michigan Medicine, said in a media statement last week.

The new name is also an attempt to reflect recent organizational changes, including Runge's combined role as leader of both the U-M Medical School and Medical Affairs for the University of Michigan.

Jennifer Thew, RN

Jennifer Thew, RN is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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