I am a registered nurse and have worked in neonatal intensive care since 1985. When I graduated from nursing school I had a fantastic orientation from St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. I also have always had a manageable caseload.

I noticed that Linda Gural ("Educating nurses better," Nov. 5) is an intensive-care nurse from Toms River. When coming to the conclusion that baccalaureate-educated nurses have fewer deaths per 1,000 patients compared to nurses without degrees, did the study take into consideration caseloads and orientations?

Intensive-care nursing is much different from medical/surgical nursing. Has she spoken to a medical/surgical nurse lately? Do they have great orientations, get time to eat or go to the bathroom, get to go home on time at the end of their shift? I think you'll find the answer to be no.

Imagine looking up at the clock after seven hours of work and realizing you have not gone to the bathroom or had anything to eat since the shift started, and going home at 9:30 p.m. when your shift ended at 7 p.m. because paperwork was not finished.

Maybe Linda Gural should look at the working conditions of medical/surgical nurses when comparing patient outcomes versus the nursing education they have received. Sorry, but the type of degree you have doesn't always make you a better nurse. A good orientation, good working conditions, a supportive supervisor, and great colleagues make all of the difference in the world.

Ellen Kornfeld, RN


Honor the scouts

In the last several years, the Street administration has pressured the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts to amend its rules to admit atheists and openly homosexual persons. Because the scouts have refused to forsake their biblical beliefs, the city has threatened to increase the rental fee on their headquarters to $200,000 a year ("Scouts ignore gay-policy deadline," Dec. 4).

This draconian measure would not only force the Boy Scouts to leave the city, but would stop many programs for the more than 60,000 Boy Scouts in the region. One would hope that Mayor-elect Nutter will not continue this attack on the scouts and other private, faith-based organizations in the city.

William J. Swety


Bravo for bikers

Thank you so much for including Mark Featherman's Dec. 4 essay, "Proving his mettle with pedals." His stories are identical to mine, giving credence to what some people consider "Eric's wild tales of bicycling."

I have been cycle-commuting since '95, and have ridden across the country. The Inquirer initially did a story on me during Christmas of 1990 while I was a patient at Bryn Mawr Rehab following a motorcycle accident. The story was furthered in the summer of 1998, when I rode across the country for the American Lung Association.

Mark Featherman could not be more on target about the drivers in the Philadelphia area - really, on the East Coast, in general. Part of it involves the narrowness of the roads; part of it involves the attitude inherent to the Northeast Corridor - that people wish they had already finished what they have to do, only so they could assume other tasks.

I think our (cyclists') collective goal is to spread the reality that life becomes more enjoyable when you remove yourself from the tedium of doing the same thing every day - specifically, getting in your car to drive down the expressway, only to spend two hours screaming yourself hoarse while exercising the muscles in the third digit of your hand.

Again, thank you so much for bringing to light an issue I've complained about tirelessly for years.

Eric D. Meneely