On March 16, Texas nurses took one day to attend a summit meeting a day that laid the foundation to take one giant leap for healthcare in Texas. The meeting was the first gathering of the Texas Regional Action Coalition, a group formed to implement the recommendations from the Institute of Medicines landmark Future of Nursing report in 2010. More than 300 nurses and non-nurses attended, including nursing leaders and students, physicians, healthcare experts and representatives from business, academic and philanthropic constituencies.
During the summit, presenters explained why it is critical in Texas to work together to maximize the role of nurses to meet the provider shortage.
Texas ranks 50th in the nation in access to healthcare and 50th in percentage of residents without health insurance, says summit leader Alexia Green, RN, PhD, FAAN, professor and dean emerita of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing. It would be great if we could lay the foundation for a different future for the citizens of Texas than what weve had during my career, Green says. It was exciting [at the summit] to see the enthusiasm for moving forward in Texas to implement the recommendations from the IOM report.
During the summit, participants were encouraged to support the call to action by joining the coalition, which is called The Texas Team Advancing Health Through Nursing. Already committed to the team are two lead organizations, the Texas Nurses Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas
The Texas RAC consists of four leadership teams strategic advisory, practice, education and executive. At the summit, the education and practice teams held strategy sessions with participants to share ideas about how to move forward. During the education committee meeting, participants agreed that it is important to standardize prerequisites for nursing school to make it easier for people to apply to different schools.
During the practice committee meeting, one of the key messages was that scope of practice applies to more than just nurse practitioners. It was made clear to us that the IOM recommendation that nurses should practice to the full extent of their training is talking about all nurses, not just NPs, says Rosemary Luquire, RN, PhD, FAAN, NEA-BC, CNO and senior vice president of Baylor Health Care System in Dallas.
To address this issue, the practice committee will focus on several areas, including innovative models of care, prevention and wellness, intentional leadership development and scope of practice.
The four Texas leadership teams will meet again in May to strategize how to implement the recommendations.