When the New York State Action Coalitions funding ran out this year amid its efforts to advance the nursing profession according to the vision of the Institute of Medicine, leaders reorganized into an all-volunteer team. Their goal stayed the same: to use recommendations in the IOMs 2010 Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report to transform healthcare through nursing.
New York was one of the original pilot states.
Hila Richardson, RN, BSN, DrPH, FAAN, a retired NYU School of Nursing professor and coalition co-leader, said the group has organized into seven regions, each taking a focus area inspired by the IOM report: advancing leadership roles, particularly on boards; advancing nurse education; and eliminating barriers to practice.
Deborah Stamps, RN, EdD, MS, GNP, NE, BC, also a coalition co-leader and CNO at Newark (N.Y.) Wayne Community Hospital, gave examples of the teams goals.
Scope of practice barriers:
In April, the New York state legislature passed the Nurse Practitioners Modernization Act, which will allow NPs with more than 3,600 hours of experience to practice without a written agreement from a supervising physician. The law does not expand NPs scope of practice or allow them to provide additional services.
The coalition will get involved in lobbying efforts to help make sure nurses at all levels are practicing to the limits of their scope, Stamps said.
Developing a standard curriculum:
Because requirements for associates degree and bachelors degree programs vary at different institutions, courses occasionally can overlap or sometimes dont transition well to the next level. Stamps said the coalition will facilitate meetings with deans to work toward coordinating those paths.
You should be able to have your associates degree and go to any four-year school, but its not that easy, Stamps said.
The coalition will work with two- and four-year schools to form partnerships so a nurse can expect seamless transitions to achieve advanced degrees. This goal works toward the IOM directive to increase to 80% by 2020 the number of nurses trained at the baccalaureate level.
Securing support from non-healthcare partners:
Coalition members will be charged with making sure communities and businesses all over the state know what the IOM report says and why the recommendations for nursing are important. Stamps said partners will include grocery store chains, churches and insurance companies, for instance.
If we dont get insurance companies to understand it, they could be the ones to minimize payment for nurse practitioners to provide care or services, she said.
Churches are key places where communities seek information and support, which makes them logical partners in healthcare reform, according to Stamps.
Partners are critical in helping to educate consumers. Strengthening those alliances inside and outside the healthcare system will be a primary goal of the coalition. The coalition eventually will seek financial help from private and government entities, but first will look for support for the IOM recommendations in terms of participating in webinars, attendance at meetings and spreading the word.
When the community gains the understanding, theyre going to fight for this, Stamps said. Theyre going to talk to their legislators.
This effort goes beyond diversifying by race, ethnicity and gender. One goal is increasing the number of men in nursing as well, which stands at about 9% nationally. Coalition partnerships with organizations such as the American Assembly for Men in Nursing might be a way to interest more men in the field. Together, the organizations could apply for grant money and scholarships, Stamps said.
Info for nurses on boards:
This roadmap will answer questions such as: What does it mean to serve on a board? How can you prepare yourself?
This strategy involves identifying which nurses currently serve on boards and pinpointing board vacancies, where the coalition could recommend nurses who could move into leadership positions, said Jill Goldstein, RN, MA, MS, vice president, emergency response system, behavioral health and infusion care, VNSNY, and a coalition co-leader.
Mentoring for leadership:
Coalition members are developing webinars for qualified nurses who may not have the confidence or awareness to raise their hands for leadership spots, Goldstein said. Mentoring also would help nurses navigate the changing healthcare environment. (Interested nurse mentors or mentees can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information.)
Though the coalition is not currently focused on raising funds, leaders hope that with re-organization, achievement of clear goals and the benefit of consultants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the AARP Campaign for Action, funding will follow.
For now, the groups leaders are driven by a feeling that you cant turn your back on your profession at such a critical time, Richardson said. Because the IOM set out goals to be accomplished by 2020, I think everybody feels that we have another five years to implement these goals and recommendations, Richardson said. This is so important to nursing and its a moment in time that will never be here again.
Marcia Frellick is a freelance writer.