Although the Massachusetts Action Coalition wasnt officially selected as an Action Coalition by the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action until late September, nurses in this state have been diligently at work for years to accomplish many of the goals formally established in 2010 in the Institute of Medicine report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.
Sharon Gale, RN, MSN, said Massachusetts has a long history of being involved in professional nursing issues and partnerships that make work happen. Gale is CEO of the Organization of Nurse Leaders of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education is leading 11 statewide nursing organizations that comprise the Massachusetts Action Coalition.
This is such a groundbreaking event, to have so many nurse organizations on the same page, looking at the same agenda to promote and improve the profession of nursing in this state, Gale said.
She added that the expertise of coalition members and their proven capacity were key factors in being selected. The Action Coalition will advance the goals outlined in the application through its recently established MA Nursing Leadership Coalition; these major nursing organizations and key stakeholders share a commitment to improve nursing education, bridge academics and practice, expand nursing leadership roles and promote a full scope of nursing practice.”
Before applying as an action coalition, these same groups had been advising the DHE about how an initiative from the state legislature would provide workforce planning. Going forward, the Action Coalition will begin to provide resources to get the message out to state nurses, policymakers, consumers, other medical professionals and educators about this effort. Gale said short-term goals include project coordination, which aims to secure funding to hire a coordinator who can keep diverse groups working in unison toward their goals.
Gale said one goal is to see that 80% of RNs have their bachelors degree by 2020.
This means looking at strategies for schools, everything from RN to BSN and LPN to BSN, and all the rest, so we know where we need to provide programs for nurses who do not have degrees to be able to get them within a specified period of time, she said.
Developing and finding scholarships as well as securing sufficient faculty are part of this effort. ONL-MA/RI already has an academic practice integration committee, which looks at how nurses complete their training programs and transition into professional positions. The committee is looking at preceptor and residency models that may help.
Our job isnt to develop these programs, Gale said, but to showcase them to help other groups see how they can use these ideas.
Gale said the coalition overall will really be looking at best practices: what’s happening in other parts of the country that can be replicated here.
She noted that work groups will look at what’s already being done in the state and instead of reinventing the wheel, will find ways to collaborate to make the IOM recommendations a reality.Ashley Waddell, RN
Wide participation sought
Staff nurse Ashley Waddell, RN, MS, CNOR, is particularly interested in helping new nurses successfully transition into practice. Through her staff development specialist role at Children’s Hospital in Boston, she has observed this need.
Practice is so specialized, especially in pediatrics, where I work, Waddell said.
Realizing that nursing students spend little time in a pediatric setting during schooling, she represents the pediatric practice component in the larger work group that will focus on education and transition into the workforce.
Im interested in how we can attract people in the field and help them build a successful nursing practice, she said.
Waddells CNO at Children’s Hospital, Eileen Sporing, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, FAAN, chose to donate eight hours of salary toward Waddells work with the coalition. Many more nurses like Waddell, both paid and volunteer and from all areas of nursing, can help move the goals of the Massachusetts Action Coalition to reality sooner.
Theres a place for everyone who wants to contribute, Waddell said. This needs everyone to be involved. The more diverse we are, the more successful these initiatives will be.
Gale echoes that sentiment. While ONL-MA/RI is in the process of establishing their own website, she encourages nurses to visit championnursing.org to find their own place of involvement.