Hello. I’m Sue Hassmiller, and I’m pleased to be speaking to you today about a campaign of critical importance to this country. It’s a campaign to transform the U.S. health care system—to ensure that all Americans have access to high-quality, affordable, patient-centered care.
This is the goal driving the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a multi-year initiative organized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in collaboration with AARP. Why the focus just on nurses? Because they deliver the most direct patient care and coordinate care across many settings. Because they play a unique role in prevention, wellness and chronic disease management. Because they’re the largest segment of our health care workforce … and the linchpin for improving the system.
The Foundation and AARP are already working with diverse coalitions in many states from Washington to Mississippi to New York. Every week we’re engaging other groups—physicians, educators, business leaders, policy-makers, and consumer advocates—to help achieve comprehensive change by fully utilizing the expertise and experience of all nurses.
I’m thrilled with the enthusiasm and support that have been generated so far, and I ask each of you to get involved.
Our direction and strategic objectives reflect the recommendations of The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, a landmark report released in October 2010 by the Institute of Medicine. But this campaign builds on the concerns that nursing organizations have championed for decades. They—and I’m sure many of you in this audience—should be fully credited for what has been achieved to date.
The Campaign for Action’s initial objectives address several key areas:
- First, to strengthen nurse education and training to ensure an adequate supply of highly competent and professional nurses.
- Second, to enable nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and training.
- Third, to advance inter-professional collaboration across the health spectrum.
- Fourth, to expand leadership ranks to ensure that nurses have a voice on management teams, in boardrooms and during policy debates.
- And fifth, to significantly increase data collection across the workforce so that future needs can be better analyzed and projected by position, skill and state.
In the health care system that we believe must be created, nurses will contribute as essential partners in achieving success. Yet given many health professionals’ increasingly interdependent roles, confronting some of nursing’s key challenges will have broad benefits for every member of a patient care team.
The Regional Action Coalitions that I mentioned a minute ago are already at the center of this campaign. These long-term partnerships are targeting the primary issues at their local and state levels, and we hope that all states will be part of the network by 2012. Based on their outcomes, we’ll be capturing best practices, tracking lessons learned and identifying replicable models. And crucially, we will connect coalition members to one another throughout the network and to valuable stakeholders at state and national levels to further accelerate action.
We encourage you to join the Regional Action Coalition in your state. We need you to contribute your talents and resources; help reach out to other potential stakeholders and funders; and raise the campaign’s visibility. You can sign up to get involved at http://thefutureofnursing.org/. Or talk to those who have taken on a leadership role in your area.
As the IOM stated, nurses can and should play a fundamental role in transforming our health care system. However, no matter what changes we make in the nursing profession, we’ll only achieve our ultimate aim through inclusive goals. So at this extraordinary moment, when so much is possible, let’s come together. True success in the Campaign for Action will mean success in transforming our nation’s health care … into a system that truly will provide every American with accessible, affordable and high-quality care.