Category Archives: National Nurses Week

May 11 2012
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Building the Body of Research in the Science of Nursing Care

Happy National Nurses Week! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has a proud history of supporting nurses and nurse leadership, so this week, the RWJF Human Capital Blog is featuring posts by nurses, including leaders from some of our nursing programs. This post is by Mary Naylor, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of the RWJF Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative program and the Marian S. Ware Professor in Gerontology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

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Nurses—the largest group of health professionals in the country—have a tremendous impact on health and health care. But despite the immense size and influence of the nursing workforce, we don’t know enough about how nurses can improve the quality and safety of care and reduce costs.

Nurse scientists have been exploring these questions for decades, but large gaps in knowledge remain. Since it was established in 2005, the Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI), funded by RWJF, has worked to address those gaps in our knowledge of nursing care.

Over the last seven years, INQRI grantees—teams of nurse scientists and scholars from other disciplines—have conducted groundbreaking research focused on the ways in which nurses affect the quality of care patients receive and how they improve patient care and outcomes.

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The interdisciplinary nature of the project has been key to its success; when scholars from multiple disciplines come together to solve problems in nursing care, they generate solutions that are grounded in rigorous evidence, that take into account diverse perspectives, and that use various methodological techniques. In short, interdisciplinary research leads to more robust findings. And more robust findings are more likely to attract investments in nursing resources, which will, in turn, improve health outcomes while reducing costs.

As program leaders, we don’t just talk the interdisciplinary talk; we walk it too.

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May 10 2012
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I Believe This About Nursing...

Happy National Nurses Week! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has a proud history of supporting nurses and nurse leadership, so this week, the RWJF Human Capital Blog will feature posts by nurses, including leaders from some of our nursing programs. Check back each day to see what they have to say.

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Every month, New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) asks its scholars to submit personal stories about their decisions to pursue careers in nursing. These students—who have undergraduate degrees in other subjects and have chosen to become second career nurses—have unique life experiences and views on the importance of the profession. The topics of their essays range from how their NCIN scholarships have enabled them to pursue careers in nursing, to events that may have shaped their decisions to become nurses, to their unique perspectives on their career choices.

Below are excerpts from the most recent winners of the “This I Believe About Nursing” essay contest.

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Angelo Llanes: For the first two decades of my life, I definitely did not want to do it.

“Until my senior year at Rutgers University, I had never aspired to be a nurse. Quite conversely, as a Filipino I attached a stigma to the nursing field considering it the ‘easy’ or ‘expected route’ when I wanted to find ‘my own route’… My experience at the internship became a life changing event. I began to feel that I couldn’t continue pursuing a career in business… To me, nursing had almost come like a calling. When I recognized it, there was nothing left to do but follow it.”

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Inetra Langley: Nurses help save lives, make a true difference and inspire those around them.

“For me, there was no question that my calling in life is to be a nurse. Unfortunately, life had another plan for me… While completing my undergraduate degree, I worked in the Emergency Department (ED) for three years. I shared with the nurses my plans of one day following in their footsteps. Without hesitation, many of them took me under their wings and taught me all about quality patient care in the role of a nurse. That invaluable experience has been my motivation for pursuing a nursing career for many years.”

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Gregory Curry: Nurses can help their patients muster inner strength in times of need.

“As I scanned the faces of my classmates I saw individuals not much older than my oldest son. I felt an inner gnawing of fear; did I really belong here in nursing school, at my age? …Then I centered my mind on a conversation my younger sons and I had at bed time; both had been discussing the fears they have during the night, and as I walked in, simultaneously they asked, ‘Dad, what are you afraid of?’ I kissed them each on the forehead while tucking them in bed and answered, ‘Nothing, boys. Your dad is afraid of nothing.’”

Learn more about the “This I Believe About Nursing” essay contest and see all of the winners.

May 9 2012
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A Mentor, An Educator, A Shaper of Public Policy - A Nurse

Happy National Nurses Week! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has a proud history of supporting nurses and nurse leadership, so this week, the RWJF Human Capital Blog will feature posts by nurses, including leaders from some of our nursing programs. Check back each day to see what they have to say. This post is by Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program and Anna D. Wolf chair and professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.

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Nurses are known mostly as caregivers, but we also play important roles as educators, mentors and even in shaping public policy. I believe strongly that one of the most important roles all nurses play is that of the educator and mentor for new nurses. No matter in what setting they work, nurses are involved in educational endeavors. You don’t need to be faculty. In clinical settings, nurses at the bedside are preceptors for students and even those who aren’t formally teaching often work alongside nursing students and are their mentors and role models – keeping a watchful eye over the students as they practice their nursing skills, providing feedback and guidance until they get it right.

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Education and mentoring are a natural extension of the caregiving role we all associate with nursing. Mentoring is how we care for new nurses who are caring for our patients and the public. We mentor in a variety of ways, through coaching, role modeling and facilitating their growth and development so that they become better and more competent nurses. In education, nursing faculty have the privilege of working with individual students who have the same scholarly interests. They also have opportunities to mentor students toward doing research and scholarship, so that those students are helping to generate evidence to show what nursing interventions work best and what’s cost-effective. Evidence that can help to shape policy to improve the health and health care of our country.

I know from personal experience that being a mentor is immensely satisfying. When my mentees achieve their goals, that experience is every bit as exciting to me as when I achieve my own goals. I know that I have helped them aim high and that because of that, they are making a real difference in the lives and health of families, communities and our country.

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May 9 2012
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Infographic: Nurses Answer the Call

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, has released an infographic for National Nurses Week showing the many ways nurses provide and expand care. Click the read more link to see the infographic.

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May 8 2012
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National Nurses Week 2012 and New Jersey

Happy National Nurses Week! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has a proud history of supporting nurses and nurse leadership, so this week, the RWJF Human Capital Blog will feature posts by nurses, including leaders from some of our nursing programs. Check back each day to see what they have to say. This post is by Susan Bakewell-Sachs, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, interim provost for The College of New Jersey, and program director of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative, a project of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

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The American Nurses Association theme for National Nurses Week 2012 is “Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring.” It emphasizes critical areas of focus for professional nursing in New Jersey and the nation that align well with the 2010 Institute of Medicine report entitled Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. National Nurses Week is an opportune time to highlight nurses and nursing and the scientifically proven contributions that our profession makes to improve health and patient care.

It is also a good time to talk about what we still need to make happen to improve health and health care. For one thing, we must continue to push for more registered nurses to earn advanced (masters and doctoral) degrees. This is essential for nursing practice, education and research. We need many more advanced practice nurses for primary and specialized care, more nurse educators to prepare nurses for the future, and more nurse scientists to continue to build the evidence for our practice and teaching.

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One of the wonderful aspects of a nursing career is that nurses can have multiple careers within it and can be clinicians, teachers and researchers. We need to advocate for a better educated profession with a higher proportion of nurses having baccalaureate and higher degrees as well as advocate for healthier lifestyle opportunities for our society and for a better health care system for those we care for.

We must lead for a better future. Nurses should seek to lead, wherever they are, throughout their careers. Leading requires gaining specific and broad knowledge, taking a public position, being willing to find solutions and engaging in difficult dialogue when necessary. It also requires us to be willing to speak up inside and outside of nursing, with members of other disciplines.

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May 7 2012
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Creating a Better Educated Workforce: Transforming Patient Care

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Happy National Nurses Week! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has a proud history of supporting nurses and nurse leadership, so this week, the RWJF Human Capital Blog will feature posts by nurses, including leaders from some of our nursing programs. Check back each day to see what they have to say. This post is by Geraldine "Polly" Bednash, PhD, RN, FAAN, Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and National Program Director, New Careers in Nursing (NCIN).

The environment and systems in which health care is delivered have grown increasingly complex over the last decade. For some time now, many individuals have contrasted the intensive care unit of the past with the medical surgical units of today, noting there is not much difference. Patient care is more complex, the technology is more sophisticated, new knowledge is emerging and nurses and other health professionals are being asked to consider the need to have a dramatically increased level of sophistication about how to intervene in all of this. Moreover, health care knowledge and science is expanding rapidly with new evidence emerging daily about patient care, while the locus of care delivery changes at the same rapid pace. Just contrast the cataract surgery of today with that done 20 years ago. Or the increasing focus on care delivered in communities, not acute care systems.

How do we provide the highest quality care, that is safe, timely, effective, efficient, and patient centered care – the STEEEP scenario – if we do not embrace the importance and value of expanding our capacity to intervene through lifelong learning and through formal education? And how do we assure that we are prepared to seek that emerging knowledge and apply it in the complex array of systems or circumstances in which care is delivered if we are not continually striving to grow our capacity to intervene?

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May 6 2012
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My Own Story: Encouraging a Diverse, Well-Educated Nursing Workforce

Happy National Nurses Week! Today is National Nurses Day, and the beginning of a week during which we celebrate the contributions of this profession. The week fittingly ends with Florence Nightingale's birthday on Saturday, May 12. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has a proud history of supporting nurses and nurse leadership, so this week, the RWJF Human Capital Blog will feature posts by nurses, including leaders from some of the Foundation’s nursing programs. Check back each day to see what they have to say. This post is by Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, RWJF Senior Adviser for Nursing and Director, Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.

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Earlier this month I had the privilege of traveling to Montana to help some of the state’s health care leaders launch the Montana Cooperative to Advance Health Through Nursing. This new state-based Action Coalition is working to advance recommendations from the Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.

While I was there, I met with Native American nursing students and their mentors at Montana State University. They are part of the extraordinarily impressive “Caring for Our Own: A Reservation/University Partnership,” known as the CO-OP program. These students come from desperately underserved areas and, after they graduate, they will go back to their reservations to provide culturally-sensitive, urgently needed care.

At the Action Coalition gala, the recipient of the student award told her story, moving many of us to tears. When she was 17, she tried to commit suicide. It was a nurse who saved her life, and convinced her there were things to live for and gifts she had yet to share. She told the audience that the nurse had been her role model through hard times. It had taken her many years and she had overcome many more hardships, she explained, but she will soon graduate and give back in the same way that her role model had given to her.

She and her peers are the kind of strong, dedicated, caring professionals that nursing needs, our health system needs, and patients need. I came home invigorated and encouraged by all the Montanans I had met, and the promise of progress in this state.

Today is National Nurses Day, which begins the celebration of National Nurses Week. We are a diverse profession, serving patients in more ways, more roles and more settings than Florence Nightingale—whose birthday, May 12, concludes National Nurses Week—could have ever imagined.

I am proud to be a nurse, proud of my colleagues working to help patients all over the country, and proud that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has a long history of supporting nurses in many roles, from research to practice to leadership and more.

RWJF recently announced the launch of the Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) initiative, which will help state Action Coalitions in their work to advance the recommendation in the Future of Nursing report that 80 percent of the nursing workforce be prepared at the baccalaureate level by 2020.

I am an associate’s degree nurse. I started my nursing education at a community college, and at that time, I’m not sure I could even have imagined getting to where I am today.

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