NEW YORK NURSE: December 2010
by Erin Silk
NYSNA joined more than 100 groups on Nov. 30 to participate in a nationwide webcast on the “Initiatives on the Future of Nursing,” presented by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These “Regional Awareness Meetings” were convened to address the call to action presented by The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, a report on the role of nurses in healthcare reform, released Oct. 5 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
The IOM’s landmark report outlines an action-oriented blueprint for nursing’s role in advancing health care and is the culmination of a two-year study by a panel of leading health experts. The study gives credence to what nursing professionals have said for years – as frontline caregivers, nurses must have a voice in transforming the nation’s healthcare system.
NYSNA CEO Tina Gerardi was on-site in Washington, D.C. for the summit, which included a panel of the nation’s leading nurses and physicians. Back in Latham, NYSNA President Karen A. Ballard facilitated New York’s Regional Awareness Meeting, which included nurses and healthcare professionals from varying fields.
Panel speakers in Washington emphasized the vital need for healthcare providers to work as a team to reach improved health outcomes. To achieve that goal, and help manage the 32 million new patients predicted to be covered by the Affordable Care Act by 2014, experts stressed that nurses must be allowed to practice to the full extent of their education and training.
Educational advancement for nurses was also cited as a critical component to enhancing nursing’s contributions. Leaders said if nurses are to truly be partners in healthcare decision-making, a renewed commitment to increasing the number of nurses with doctoral degrees is necessary to add value to the workforce and develop future nurse educators.
A critical component of the initiative are the Regional Action Coalitions (RACs) developed by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to drive the recommendations set forth by the IOM’s report. New York, California, New Jersey, Michigan, and Mississippi have been chosen as RAC states. The five RACs are tasked with developing action plans for four key recommendations from the report.
New York’s RAC will concentrate on the following recommendations:
“The foundation is committed to using the IOM Future of Nursing report as it is intended to be used, as a roadmap for future direction and action,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation president and CEO. “We are doing this by convening leaders from all sectors, both public and private, to join us as partners in this national movement to make these recommendations a reality.”
New York’s RAC is comprised of seven nurses and one physician, as designated by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Cathryne Welch, former NYSNA executive director, director of the Institute for Nursing-New York State Workforce Center, and interim executive director of the Foundation of New York State Nurses, will co-chair the New York RAC Steering Committee, along with Robert O’Connell, representing AARP. The steering committee will be made up of nursing and non-nursing leaders from different parts of the state charged with guiding the RAC’s initial activities. The New York RAC will also develop five to seven “mini-RACs” to enable broader statewide input, with local leaders assigned for each priority. The groups will then work together to identify and educate key regional policy decision-makers and supporting constituencies.
Watch for the New York RAC website to be live soon at www.ifnrac-ny.org. Nurses are encouraged to reach out to RAC leaders with their input.
Also, visit the Future of Nursing website, which includes details on the research and data behind the recommendations; ideas, action steps and resources for organizations to become involved; and toolkits and template materials for leaders to advance the recommendations in their communities. Visit http://thefutureofnursing.org/about for more information and a link to the full IOM report.