LOS ANGELES— Key health and community leaders gathered Monday to begin advancing recommendations aimed at transforming the nursing profession—and much of the health care system—to improve the quality of care throughout California. Their work was part of a national initiative being launched in the wake of a landmark report from the Institute of Medicine.Led locally by Dr. Gloria McNeal, founding dean, Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, the Regional Awareness Meeting coincides with a major summit in Washington, DC, and the start of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. At the same time, additional meetings took place at universities, schools of nursing and hospitals in nearly 90 cities and counties across the country as nurses, doctors, and consumers in those communities came together with leaders from business, government, academia, hospitals and insurers.
“In an unprecedented and historical event, today over 30 participants attended our host site of the webcast of the Nursing Summit at Charles Drew University to add their voice to the national dialogue that was simultaneously occurring nationwide,” Dr. McNeal said. At each event, the goal was to solve the educational, training and practice issues that prevent nurses from serving as full partners in the delivery of quality health care.
“The discipline of nursing is standing at the precipice of a monumental change in the future of healthcare delivery,” Dr. McNeal added. “The Institute of Medicine’s Initiative on the Future of Nursing, for the first time in the history of the discipline, will be the driving force to help position nursing at the forefront of this change.”The IOM report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, assessed the critical role played by more than 3 million nurses in the nation’s health care system. The challenges facing the nursing profession must be addressed, it concluded, or the system will never be able to provide quality care that is seamless, affordable and accessible to all Americans. The report’s major recommendations, which outline a path for improving health and health care, were the focus of regional meetings. They include:
- Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training.
- Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
- Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States.
- Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and an improved information infrastructure.
At the Southern California Regional Awareness meeting, strategies were developed for implementing these recommendations in the most proven, effective ways. Overall, the session drew 31 attendees from 20 different nursing education and service institutions.
“By hosting this event, our faculty assisted in elevating the image of our School of Nursing and engaged in networking activity with nurse colleagues from all over the Southern California region,” Dr. McNeal said. “All attendees expressed their appreciation and remarked about our state-of-the-art facility. An added advantage was noted when the event also served as a phenomenal recruitment initiative. We were able to interview an excellent doctorally-prepared faculty candidate onsite.”
Dr. McNeal added: “The Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing is now on the radar screen and likely will continue to serve as a hosting site when the IOM Initiative on the Future of Nursing continues to roll out its agenda.”