Health care facilities are more interested in hiring nursing students who can think critically and organize than those who boast specific competencies, such as an impressive number of injections given.
The hospitals also want nurses to be passionate and have a sense of identity in their profession.
This is just some of what was gathered Dec. 3 at an invitation-only meeting of more than 100 nursing leaders and educators at Lankenau Hospital, Wynnewood, Pa. The conference, “Preparing the Nurses of the Future: Sharing the Challenges and Opportunities,” was hosted by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Deans and Directors Alliance (SEPDDA).
A need to partnerNancy Valentine, RN, PhD
“In the Philadelphia area, there is a great synergy between educators and key leaders in nursing who see the need to partner, and understand the compelling business need to do so,” says Nancy Valentine, RN, PhD, senior vice president and chief nursing officer of Main Line Health.
True to SEPDDA’s mission, the goal of the meeting was to create partnerships, learn from each other’s strategies and speak with one voice about common nursing issues, says Afaf Meleis, RN, PhD, FAAN, dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, who co-led the meeting with Valentine.Afaf Meleis, RN, PhD, FAAN
“We [administrators and educators] have similar issues and want dialogue to enhance students’ entrance into the clinical arenas and to enhance its effectiveness,” says Meleis. “It’s all about quality of care for patients and quality of life for our students during their educational experience and beyond.”
Many common concerns
To maximize dialogue, panel presenters summarized key issues, such as job shortages for new graduate nurses, recruitment and retention strategies, maintaining a diverse workforce that matches the changing demographics of the U.S. population and transition models for new graduates.
Topics for further discussion include how schools of nursing can ease the transition for hospitals as new groups of nursing students enter the clinical setting each semester and how nursing schools can share faculty or clinical instructors as the faculty shortage continues.
The group agreed it needed more time for discussion. In the meantime, members are finding ways to work together. For example, Villanova University nursing educators have invited the Main Line Health nursing leadership team to a conversation about opportunities for nursing partnerships.
“By partnering, we can address the key issues together rather than in our own world,” Valentine says.