Category Archives: RWJF Leaders

Dec 3 2014
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The Top Five Issues for Nursing in 2015

Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, directs the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Actionwhich is implementing recommendations from that report. Hassmiller also is senior adviser for nursing for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Susan Hassmiller

In 2013, the Institute of Medicine released a report, U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health, that compared the United States with 16 other affluent nations. The United States ranked last or near last on nine key indicators:  infant mortality and low birth weight; injuries and homicides; teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections; prevalence of HIV and AIDS; drug-related deaths; obesity and diabetes; heart disease; chronic lung disease; and disability. This is despite the fact that we spend significantly more on health care than any other nation.

I believe there are five ways nurses can contribute to improving these conditions in 2015. 

Nurses Can Help Us Build a Culture of Health

In a Culture of Health, the goal is to keep everyone as healthy as possible.  That means promoting health is as important as treating illness. Unless everyone in the country joins this effort, we will remain at the bottom of the list of healthiest nations. “Everyone” means all health care workers, business owners, urban planners, teachers, farmers and others, including consumers themselves.  Nurses especially understand wellness and prevention, and have a special role to play in building a Culture of Health. 

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Oct 9 2014
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Hospitals Must Recruit Nurses to Their Leadership Boards

This week marks the 4th anniversary of the Institute of Medicine’s future of nursing report. David L. Knowlton is president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.

David Knowlton

Nurses truly run the front lines of hospitals. Their leadership oversees every hospital quality initiative essential to improving care—from reducing hospital-acquired infections, to cutting unnecessary readmissions, to preventing patient falls.

Poor scores in these quality measures now result in government penalties that can hit hospitals hard.

And as health care evolves and hospitals stretch beyond their own walls, nurses are leading the programs that bring health care into communities. They are critical to the success of health reform as more Americans obtain health insurance and seek primary care.

So tell me something? Why is the highest level of hospital leadership in our nation nearly devoid of nurses?

Surveys find the number of nurses with voting positions on hospital boards is about 4 to 6 percent — an unfathomable statistic for anyone who understands, even a little, how hospitals work.

We need the leadership of nurses on every hospital board.

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Oct 7 2014
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A Business Community Board Role Broadens a Nurse Leader’s Horizons

This week marks the 4th anniversary of the Institute of Medicine’s future of nursing report. Sandra McDermott, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, is an assistant professor of nursing and the director of health and service related professions at Tarleton State University in Fort Worth, Texas. A member of the Texas Team Action Coalition, which recently launched the Nurses On Board training program, she is a newly appointed member of the board of directors for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce South Area Council.

Sandra McDermott

I have been in my university director position for about six months now, and I knew that before I started teaching classes this fall, I had an opportunity to really get involved in the Fort Worth community. I wanted to get my name out there, because when I do that, I am getting my school’s name out there, too. I started attending Chamber events and enjoyed them, and I realized that the South Area Council is the one that encompasses the hospital district, which is where I want to have a lot of my connections.

If my role is to draw nursing students and build awareness for our nursing programs, then clearly, focusing on the hospital district makes a lot of sense. I had made a strong connection with a South Area Council board member, so I lobbied the Chamber to join the board, and they ultimately added a new spot and appointed me to it, which was very humbling. They did not have a university represented on the Council, and they saw value in having a nurse and an educator join them.

The main campus for my school is about 90 miles away. Everyone knows about our presence there, where there are around 8,600 students. But in Fort Worth, we have around 1,600 students, and the nursing programs are relatively new and very small. I knew I needed to be out in the community as we build up our programs, and what better way to do it than to be at multiple Chamber functions? And as a board member, I knew I could influence a lot more people. In the hospital district, I can go in as not only a nurse and an educator, but a Chamber leader as well. That is a great platform to advocate for my school programs and for wellness and health care as community priorities.

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Oct 6 2014
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Celebrating Four Years of Nurses Leading Change to Advance Health

Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, directs the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, which is implementing recommendations from that report. Hassmiller also is senior adviser for nursing for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Susan Hassmiller

This week marks the fourth anniversary of The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the landmark Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that galvanized the nursing field and partners to participate in health system transformation. Nurses nationwide are heeding the report’s call to prepare for leadership roles at the national, state and community levels. Why?  Simply put, nurses coordinate and provide care across every setting, and they can represent the voices of patients, their families and communities. Nurses are the reality check on committees and in boardrooms.

The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a national initiative led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and AARP to implement recommendations from the future of nursing report, is promoting nursing leadership—and I’m thrilled by our progress.

To date, Action Coalitions report that 268 nurses have been appointed to boards. Virginia has implemented an innovative program to recognize outstanding nurse leaders under age 40, and several other states including Arkansas, Nebraska and Tennessee are offering similar programs. New Jersey has set a goal of placing a nurse leader on every hospital board. Texas has partnered with the Texas Healthcare Trustees to provide its nurses with governance and leadership education to prepare them for board leadership. Even better, other states are fostering nursing leadership by adopting these best practices.

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Oct 21 2013
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RWJF Scholars & Fellows Speak: What’s a Culture of Health? What Does It Take to Get There?

Linda Wright Moore, MS, is a senior communications officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Linda Wright-Moore

Developing a vision for a national “culture of health” has been central to internal discussions at the Foundation, as we’ve engaged in a deliberative process of strategic planning for the future.

For the past year since marking our 40th anniversary, we’ve been asking ourselves where we should set our sights and focus our energies in a rapidly changing world, in order to advance our mission to improve health and health care for all.  Consider: the population is aging, becoming more diverse. Technological advances are transforming how we communicate, how we provide health care, and more. “Big data” is making once tedious and time-consuming calculations and analysis routine. Out of our deliberations—a new vision of the way forward has emerged, presented in the 2013 President’s Message from Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA: "We, as a nation, will strive together to create a culture of health enabling all in our diverse society to lead healthy lives, now and for generations to come."

To begin to informally road test that vision, we posed a question to RWJF grantees and alumni at an RWJF-sponsored reception at the AcademyHealth meeting in Baltimore last summer. In impromptu interviews, we asked, “What is a culture of health? What does it take to get there?

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Oct 15 2013
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A Journey Well Worth Taking

Linda Burnes Bolton, DrPH, RN, FAAN, is vice president for nursing, chief nursing officer, and director of nursing research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was vice chair of the Institute of Medicine Commission on the Future of Nursing, and is a trustee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It has been three years since the Institute of Medicine issued Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.

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Developing the Institute of Medicine report, Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health and working to implement its recommendations has been a magnificent journey. It hasn’t been about nursing, but rather about health and health care. We focus on nursing, because it is one of the keys to improving health and health care. But our success, and the reason people are joining us on this journey, is because the report and its recommendations mean better health for the public and a stronger health care system for the country.

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What began as a report has become a groundswell.  It is doing exactly what we hoped it would do, bringing people together to strengthen our health care system. Today a large, multidisciplinary, national movement is engaging nurses, consumers, and other health professionals in local and regional efforts to bring this report to life. There are great examples, for instance, of people from diverse fields coming together to remove practice barriers, physicians saying they believe medicine must be a “team sport,” consumers working to improve care in their communities—and much more.

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Oct 14 2013
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Leading in a Collaborative Environment: A Top 10 List for Getting There

Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, is senior adviser for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and director of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. Three years ago, the Institute of Medicine issued Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which supports “efforts to cultivate and promote leaders within the nursing profession—from the front lines of care to the boardroom.” The goal, the report says, is that nurses be full partners, with physicians and other health professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States.

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The only way to achieve a healthier future for everyone in this country is to work collaboratively toward that goal. Leading in a collaborative environment takes very special skills. To find effective leaders, we must consider the skills, talents, and experience of everyone who aspires to leadership, regardless of their profession.

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In fact, there is no evidence pointing to a single profession as having all requisite leadership skills to get our population to a healthier state. It is truly about the skills, talents, and experience of the whole team, and everyone on the team should be considered a potential leader.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health states that all professions should be equal partners in leading health and health care efforts in this country to assure access, affordability, quality, and a healthier future for all. The IOM committee members who shaped that report made extremely thoughtful recommendations on leadership.

Below, I add my own take, based on experience, about what it takes to lead in a collaborative environment.

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Oct 4 2013
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The Future of Nursing: A Look Back at the Landmark IOM Report

By Harvey V. Fineberg, MD, PhD, president of the Institute of Medicine, and Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This commentary originally appeared on the Institute of Medicine website.

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Three years ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its landmark report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, made possible by the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). In light of the tremendous need for nurses in health care today and in the future — due to the growing numbers of people with chronic diseases, an aging population, and the need for care coordination — the report provided a blueprint for how to transform the nursing profession. Recommendations put forth by the report committee included removing barriers to practice and care, expanding opportunities for nurses to serve as leaders, and increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020.1

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Spurred by the 2010 IOM report, RWJF and AARP partnered to establish the Campaign for Action, an initiative to mobilize action coalitions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to utilize nurses more effectively in confronting the nation’s most pressing health challenges. Although we have made measurable progress in the past 3 years, we have more work to do to fully realize the potential of qualified nurses to improve health and provide care to people who need it.

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Sep 30 2013
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Making Nurses’ Academic Progression a Reality

Maryjoan Ladden, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Maryjoan Ladden / RWJF

There is near-universal agreement among health care stakeholders and experts that the country needs to grow the number of primary care providers. If the health care system is to meet the growing demand for care that will result from the greying of the Baby Boomers and the influx of millions of newly insured Americans, we're going to need a bigger, better-prepared health care workforce.

That’s a point the 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, made very clearly with respect to nurses. That landmark report also pointed out that health care is becoming increasingly complex as our understanding of illness grows and as the tools and systems we have available to combat it change and evolve.

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Sep 23 2013
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Primary Care on the Front Lines of Innovation

Maryjoan Ladden, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Maryjoan Ladden / RWJF

During a recent visit to my adopted home state of Massachusetts, I took a fresh look at a primary care practice I had previously known only from afar. I was part of the team visiting Cambridge Health Alliance–Union Square Family Health, which is one of 30 primary care practices recognized as exemplar models for workforce innovation by The Primary Care Team: Learning From Effective Ambulatory Practices (LEAP) project. This project, a new initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the MacColl Center at Group Health Research Institute, is studying these 30 practice sites to identify new strategies in workforce development and interprofessional collaboration. The overarching goal of LEAP is to better understand the innovative models that make primary care more efficient, effective, and satisfying to both patients and providers, and ultimately lead to improved patient outcomes.

This site visit took me back to my time as a nurse practitioner at Boston Medical Center, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, and Boston’s school-based health centers. This is where my passion for primary care began. As we prepare for millions more Americans to enter the health care system in the coming year, we must identify ways to expand access to primary care, improve the quality of care, and control costs. One important way is by exploring how to optimize the varied and expansive skill sets of all members of the primary care team. This idea has been examined in medical and popular media, but there has been little study of the workforce innovations employed by primary care practices to meet the increasing demands for health care.

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