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A Year of Gifts


What’s on your holiday wish list? You may be caught up in the spirit of giving, or exhausted by the commercialization of the season. Wrapped in the activities of our daily professional lives is our wish list for the nursing profession and the care of people around the world, including perhaps:

  • ensure our influence and leadership to transform health care
  • resolve our workforce shortages permanently
  • create glide paths for nurses to advance their education easily
  • secure funding to accelerate nursing research and expedite application of findings
  • demonstrate nurses’ contributions to care outcomes in quantifiable meaningful measures
  • realize nurses as the top leaders of all types of health care organizations
  • help prevent illness, restore health, and provide compassionate care across the life span
  • have all care meet the Institute of Medicine’s six quality aims that it be safe, effective, efficient, timely, patient-centered, and equitable
  • remove barriers restricting nursing practice
  • pay nurses competitively and equitably with other providers
  • improve population health by reducing health disparities and addressing social and public health issues

The list is neither exhaustive nor outrageous. It is, however, a big ask. More humble than many, nurses are not generally greedy; we simply want what is best for patients and nurses. Reminded by the words of Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, upon introducing the Future of Nursing Report in October 2010, “when nursing succeeds, health care succeeds,” we shouldn’t be bashful about asking for a lot. After all, what we ask is for us to better serve the healthcare needs of our country and beyond.

Reflecting on what the year has already brought us, you may be pleasantly surprised that we are beginning to make headway on our wish list. Here is a snapshot of actions we can all celebrate proudly.

  • Leaders of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Association of Community Colleges, the Association of Community Colleges Trustees, the National Leagues for Nursing, and the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing jointly endorsed the goal of preparing a diverse nursing workforce reflecting support for ongoing higher levels of education.
  • The Magnet Recognition Program® continues to grow with 395 recognized facilities worldwide, which includes just under 7% of registered US hospitals. Ninety-four Pathway to Excellence® organizations are recognized.
  • More than 40 states, with the number growing throughout the year, have passed or introduced legislation to protect nurses from violence on the job through workplace violence education and reporting programs, or instituting stiffer penalties for offenders.
  • The first of its kind, the Coordinating Center for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice at the University of Minnesota is receiving $4 million over 5 years from the Health Resources and Services Administration, and up to an additional $8.6 million in grants over 5 years from the combined commitment of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and The John A. Hartford Foundation. The center’s work will foster interprofessional education, leading to greater team work and collaboration among care providers and patients.
  • NDNQI Program researchers found that higher rates of nurses with national certification in adult critical care units resulted in lower rates of some hospital acquired infection conditions (CLABSI, CAUTI, and VAP) http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/page-1/NRS-276758/Specialty-Nursing-Certifications-Linked-to-Lower-HAI-Rates
  • The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2011 (H.R. 2267/S. 227) before Congress has strong bipartisan support and would enable nurse practitioners to order home health services for Medicare beneficiaries and receive payment. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:h.r.2267:
  • Nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and other primary care professionals will become eligible for Medicare payment for services that help manage patients’ transitions post hospital to other settings with the addition of new payment codes added to the listing of current procedural terminology (CPT) used to bill for services. The “transitional care management” services performed by RNs, provided within 30 days of a Medicare patient’s discharge from a hospital or similar facility, are aimed at preventing complications and readmission to the hospital. http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/page-1/NRS-286691/New-Care-Coordination-Codes-Huge-Win-for-Nurses
  • Again! Nurses ranked as the public’s most trusted—honest and ethical—professionals

Progress on our big ask is due in large part to nurses and organizations who work tirelessly to advance nursing and health care. The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action (http://campaignforaction.org/), which continues to be a catalyst for achievement across the country, is encouraging bold steps to break down old barriers and realize ambitious goals. The American Nurses Association and state organizations leverage relationships to influence legislation and change policies that advocate for nurses and the needs of consumers and patients. Joined by many other organizations and community leaders too numerous to mention, we are thankful for the efforts that have already delivered results throughout the year. Momentum is growing. We give thanks and are ever hopeful for another amazing year of gifts to come.

Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN


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