The new year is quickly approaching, and with it comes tremendous opportunities for nurses to help transform the future of patient care. That was the message given to more than 300 nurses and 185 nursing students who attended the Arizona Nurses Association biennial nursing convention Oct. 13-14 in Mesa, Ariz.
“Imagine Nurses Driving Healthcare” was the theme for the convention that featured speakers including Carolyn Clancy, MD, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and Cheryl A. Peterson, RN, MSN, director of the Department of Nursing Practice and Policy at the American Nurses Association.
“With [more than] 80,000 nurses in Arizona, we are the largest healthcare workforce group in the state,” said Teri Wicker, RN, PhD, AzNA president. “We see nurses poised to become change agents and leaders and to improve healthcare based on our education and practice models that include not only a physiologic focus, but also psychosocial, cultural and spiritual domains of care.”
Wicker cited the convergence of 21st century healthcare issues including healthcare reform (the Affordable Care Act) and the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action as two examples that have placed the spotlight on the role of nursing in the delivery of quality patient care.
“This is our moment in history, our time to influence the outcomes of healthcare delivery,” Wicker said. “Our convention planning committee consisting of nurse members from practice, education and administration were intent on planning a conference that offered something for everyone in attendance.”Teri Wicker, RN
Peterson offered a presentation on healthcare reform and the unprecedented opportunities it provides for nurses to embrace leadership roles and help redesign the healthcare system.
“We can’t get significant improvements in healthcare unless nurses are front and center in the healthcare system,” Peterson said.
Clancy opened her presentation with stories highlighting the many ways, both professionally and personally that nurses have made a positive impact on her life, and offered a passionate discussion on patient-centered care. She then asked all of the nursing students in the room to stand and be recognized and commended them on their choice of professions.
“She told our nursing students they are part of the approximately 3 million nurses in this country who are at the forefront of a health care workforce that is working hard to achieve a more efficient an effective health care system,” Wicker said. “She also discussed how nursing research and practice are instrumental with regard to the focus of the AHRQ initiatives on patient safety and quality, and shared information on the AHRQ publication Patient Safety & Quality: An Evidence Based Handbook that is extremely popular with nurses.” Additional presentations at the convention discussed the role of Arizona nurses in healthcare reform, and in the implementation of the IOM Future of Nursing Recommendations, and how advanced practice nursing would continue to evolve in the 21st century.
“Many of our panel discussions highlighted creative cutting-edge nursing care models being used in Arizona,” Wicker said. “We also emphasized to nurses how influential they are to legislators, and how they can help to shape policy.”Convention attendees also learned how the future of healthcare will focus on health promotion and prevention causing the nursing workforce to shift from acute care nursing (with only the sickest patients in the hospital) to community-based treatment and prevention models that include nurse-led clinics and medical homes, wellness centers, accountable care organizations and transitional care models, to name a few.
“The convention message to nursing students was not to expect that all new grads would land their first job in a hospital,” Wicker said. “We anticipate seeing more community-based nursing jobs that focus on chronic disease management, disease prevention and health promotion.”