Leaders in Shaping the Outcome of the Health Care Conversation

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Christine AlichnieBy Christine Alichnie, PhD, RN

Nurses Leading the Way is the theme for National Nurses Week running May 6-12, 2014. As we celebrate our past and present nurse leaders, we must never forget that all professional nurses are leaders – transforming practice, education and health policies. The emerging health care world, with the impact of the ACA, is transformative; it ushers in new services, business and health care partners, and insurance companies. 

Trends landscaping the health care industry of the future will include: pervasive chronic care needs requiring multiple care pathways to improve outcomes; transference of an expensive hospital care model to a home care model requiring a shift in services and resources to provide quality care; and incorporation of healthy work behaviors addressing lifestyle choices with a dollar value placed on wellness – a definite shift from illness care to wellness care.   

Across the Commonwealth, nurses are guiding these forecasted trends. The 2010 IOM Report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, emphatically calls for all nurses, including nursing students, to lead. Will we hear the call? Professional nurses must seize this moment and opportunity that the report has given the nursing profession and actively engage in transforming practice and nursing education throughout the Commonwealth. 

Leadership activities must include interprofessional practice and educational opportunities, as well as the ability of all nurses to have full practice authority. This transformation calls for all nurses to forge the profession’s future rather than hold on to our past. The call for nurses to lead the way in transforming our health care delivery system and educational models expects new partnerships and a paradigm shift in thinking – collaboration with business, government, consumer groups and other professional associations. Our security blanket must be removed to transform our future place in the ever-evolving 21st century health care model.  

The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA), representing the more than 212,000 RNs in Pennsylvania, serves as a mentor and role model in this endeavor. As the nurse co-lead organization for the PA Action Coalition, one of 51 national Action Coalitions in support of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, we are collaborating with new and old partners to implement the eight IOM recommendations. Will Pennsylvania’s nurses hear the call to lead the way and step up to the plate? Join your regional action coalition today by visiting www.paactioncoalition.org.  

Christine Alichnie is President of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association.