Nurses sure to play vital role in evolving US health-care sector

(El Paso Times) In October 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” a blueprint for transforming the American health system by strengthening nursing care and better preparing nurses to help lead the transformation.

The report examined what it will take to satisfy future demands for health care, making recommendations that outline the role nurses should play and the way nursing can contribute in a redesigned and improved health-care delivery system.

The report’s recommendations are centered around four themes:

  • Improving and increasing nursing education;
  • Supporting nurses in practicing to the fullest extent of their education and training;
  • Creating a culture and systems in which nurses act as full partners with other health-care professionals;
  • Collecting better nursing workforce data.

These issues will be discussed at Mano Y Corazon, a bi-national conference of multicultural health-care solutions that takes place Monday and Tuesday at the Wyndham El Paso Airport Hotel.

The event is co-sponsored by the National Association of Hispanic Nurses-El Paso Chapter and the office of state Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso.

The conference will feature keynote speaker Dr. Donald Berwick, former administrator of the Centers for Me dicare and Medicaid Services, and a giant in the field of health care.

That’s the icing on the cake, but the conference will feature, importantly, sessions that cover behavioral health, new methods of providing and paying for health care, and continuing education credit programs on sign language, counseling and social work, just to name a few.

In addition, the conference will provide a session on the IOM’s Future of Nursing report presented by the Texas Team, an action coalition that is comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders from throughout Texas who can effect sustainable change at the state and regional level.

Action Coalitions capture best practices, determine research needs, track lessons learned and identify replicable models that can accelerate improvements in health- care provision.

State and regional action coalitions are the driving force of the “Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action,” a broad, national effort led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the AARP to drive implementation of the IOM’s recommendations.

The goal of implementing the report’s recommendations is to ensure that all Americans have access to high quality, patient-centered care in a health-care system where nurses contribute as essential partners.

Health care is facing unprecedented challenges, and improving our health-care system will require active commitment from leaders in all areas of health care, academia, government, business, health plans and hospitals.

Nurses must play a major role in meeting these challenges and El Paso’s community and nurses are ready to take on the challenges that are needed to put the report’s recommendations into action.

Linda Lawson, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, is Texas Team Co-Leader for the Upper Rio Grande Region, and is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow.