Category Archives: RWJF Leaders

Jul 1 2013
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Bold Solutions, Not Tired Turf Battles

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.

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On Thursday, New York Times blogger Pauline Chen, MD, took a fresh look at the disagreements over the services that advanced practice registered nurses should be authorized to provide, reporting on a primary care meeting at which a doctor dared to raise “the unmentionable” topic with his colleagues. The room, she reports, erupted into discord and chaos.

The same divide was documented in a survey reported by the New England Journal of Medicine in May.  It is a terrible shame.  What we need, now more than ever, is open and reasoned conversation within and between health care fields about the best way to provide high quality care and improve our population’s health.

These are challenging times for our health care system. Millions of Americans are about to gain insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Our population is getting older and living with more chronic illnesses. And we have an urgent need to promote prevention, improve quality, and contain costs.

There is no question that we need more physicians and more primary care physicians in particular. There is no question that physicians should treat the sickest patients and those with the most complex health problems.  But there also is no question that we need nurse practitioners to be able to practice to the full extent of their education and training.

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Jun 28 2013
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Expert Discusses New Data on America’s Public Health Nursing Workforce

A report funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and produced by the University of Michigan Center of Excellence in Public Health Workforce Studies is the first comprehensive assessment of the size, composition, educational background experience, retirement intention, job function and job satisfaction of nurses who work for state and local health departments.

Paul Kuehnert, MS, RN, CPNP, team director of Public Health at RWJF, and an alumnus of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program, discusses the report’s findings.

May 16 2013
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New Survey: Physicians, Nurse Practitioners Disagree on Nurses’ Role in Providing Primary Care

Lori Melichar Gadkari, PhD, MA, is a director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), in the Research and Evaluation Unit.

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Yesterday the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study co-funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “Perspectives of Physicians and Nurse Practitioners on Primary Care Practice” finds that 96 percent of nurse practitioners and 76 percent of physicians agreed with the Institute of Medicine report recommendation that “nurse practitioners should be able to practice to the full extent of their education and training.” The new study is authored by Karen Donelan, ScD, EdM, Catherine M. DesRoches, DrPH, Robert S. Dittus, MD, MPH, and Peter Buerhaus, PhD, RN.

When asked how increasing the supply of nurse practitioners would potentially affect the United States health care system, the authors found that the majority of physicians (73%) said increasing the supply of primary care nurse practitioners (PCNPs) would lead to improvements in the timeliness of care. A much smaller majority of physicians (52%) said increasing the supply of PCNPs would lead to improvements in access to care for people in the country. 

However, the new survey found significant disagreement between primary care physicians and PCNPs about whether increasing the supply of PCNPs would improve patient safety and the effectiveness of care, and whether it would reduce costs. There was also a large professional divide about proposed changes to PCNPs’ scope of practice, putting PCNPs in leadership roles, and the quality of care that PCNPs provide.

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May 6 2013
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Happy National Nurses Week!

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.

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National Nurses Week begins today, May 6, and runs through Sunday, May 12, which is Florence Nightingale’s birthday. The theme for the week this year is: delivering quality and innovation in patient care.

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It’s a wonderful theme, because nurses do even more than deliver high-quality patient care. Nurses conduct groundbreaking science and discovery, develop innovations that improve the quality of care, provide primary care, help patients and their families avoid and manage illness, teach at community colleges and universities, shape public policies, serve in the military, help when there are disasters, run large health organizations, and much more.

Since it opened its doors 40 years ago, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has recognized that, which is why it has invested more than $580 million in nursing over the last four decades. That investment continues today, with support to our programs that prepare the next generation of nurse faculty, support nurse research, promote nursing leaders, and more.

The Institute of Medicine, too, recognized nurses’ many contributions to improving health care in this country in its groundbreaking 2010 report. That is why the report called for a more highly educated nursing workforce, more support for nurse-led research, and more nurses in leadership roles of all kinds, from the front lines to the board room. The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action is working to implement those and other recommendations from that report.

This week on this blog, you will be able to learn more about it and read about some of the innovative work that nurses around the country are doing. This is one of my favorite weeks of the year, because it provides us an opportunity to really showcase nurses’ work. Enjoy!

May 1 2013
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Strategies for Enhancing Diversity

Catherine J. Malone, MBA, DBA(c), is a program associate working in the areas of diversity and nursing for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This is the first in a series of posts looking at diversity in the health care workforce.

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As a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Human Capital team leading the group’s diversity efforts and the Foundation’s Diversity Team, I would like to share some of our work in this area. I must start by noting that “diversity” means different things to different people. At RWJF we recognize and value all types of diversity and therefore have a broad definition of the term which is described in the Foundation “Diversity Statement” below:

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“Diversity and inclusion are core values of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, reflected in our Guiding Principles. We value differences among individuals across multiple dimensions including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion and socioeconomic status. We believe that the more we include diverse perspectives and experiences in our work, the better able we are to help all Americans live healthier lives and get the care they need. In service to our mission, we pledge to promote these values in the work we do and to reflect on our progress regularly.”

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Apr 9 2013
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Whoa! Did You Feel That?

Michael Painter, JD, MD, is a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and an alumnus of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program. This post originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas Blog.

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Have you read “The Swerve,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by renowned historian Stephen Greenblatt? In it a canny Renaissance era book hunter discovers and releases knowledge in the form of a medieval, controversial poem lost to posterity. The poem had dwindled down to a single handmade, leather-bound version held behind the vine-covered, ancient walls of an Italian monastery. According to Greenblatt, the unleashing of that book changed everything that came after. That small book with the long poem on the nature of things set in motion forces that challenged the status quo and triggered dramatic, world-wide change—a swerve. The only way that knowledge survived the millennia was because monks trained in hand crafting books had carefully copied the one survivor—and saved it for centuries.

Last week, the Khan Academy, AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation may not have triggered quite such a momentous unleashing—but this powerful collaboration did start something very interesting with potentially significant implications for health care education.

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Mar 12 2013
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Advancing the Role of Nurses: A Summit to Remember

Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Senior Adviser for Nursing and Director, Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.

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After about a year of planning, we held the Campaign for Action National Summit in Washington D.C. in late February and early March. We brought together more than 200 leaders from state Action Coalitions—nurses, other health leaders, consumers, educators, business leaders and others who are working at the state level to advance nursing and improve health care. These Action Coalition leaders are experts and activists who came to Washington to share innovative ideas for transforming health care and improving health, and to plan for the future. 

The mission of the Campaign for Action and its Action Coalitions, which are in every state and the District of Columbia, is to advance recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Those recommendations cover a range of issues, including academic progression, nurse leadership, scope of practice, workforce data collection, diversity, and much more. Our goal, in all this work, is to ensure that nurses can contribute as equal partners in a reformed health care system in order to improve patient care.

We planned the Summit as a nontraditional conference that used a U.N.-style approach. It was designed to allow participants—who are from nursing, medicine, business, health systems, philanthropy, and academia—to learn from each other.

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Mar 5 2013
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RWJF Launches a Website to Advance the Science of QI Research and Evaluation

Lori Melichar, PhD, is a director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

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On February 12, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched a new website that can serve as a long-awaited repository for work we have funded over the last 10 years that invests in advancing the science of quality improvement (QI) research and evaluation.  We hope the website also provides the opportunity for researchers and other health care professionals engaged in QI work to access resources and to connect with colleagues with mutual interests.

The launch coincided with a virtual meeting on Advancing the Science of QI Research and Evaluation (ASQUIRE).  The group convened to hear findings from grantees of the Foundation’s Evaluating QI Training Programs Initiative (PQI). 

Meeting participants were tasked with thinking about how the website can best disseminate their work as well as collect, house and spread tools, frameworks, methods and models to assist those doing QI and those evaluating QI efforts. Grantees were joined by experts in QI research, practice and evaluation and a lively discussion (sometimes a debate) ensued. 

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Feb 4 2013
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You’re Invited to a Virtual Meeting on Advancing the Science of Quality Improvement Research and Evaluation

Lori Melichar, PhD, is a director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). 

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s mission is to improve the health and health care of all Americans. In pursuit of this mission, we seek to improve the quality of care provided in hospitals, ambulatory care centers, public health departments, and other settings where health is enhanced or health care is delivered.

Within the past 15 years, Quality Improvement (QI)—the process-based data-driven approach to improving the quality of a product or service through iterative action-evaluation cycles—has emerged as a promising strategy to accomplish this goal, and RWJF funded several national programs to “demonstrate” the potential of QI to improve health care processes, staff engagement and patient outcomes.  The Foundation’s Pursuing Perfection Program, which had as its goal to help hospital and physician organizations improve patient outcomes dramatically by pursuing perfection in major care processes, employed QI tools such as Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles and improvement collaboratives to accomplish this goal.  Another program, Transforming Care at the Bedside, taught frontline nurses the skills and methods of QI and empowered these staff to engage in activities to transform hospital care.  Paths to Recovery is an RWJF program that used QI processes to improve the systems of care that provided substance abuse treatment. Aligning Forces for Quality  is RWJF’s signature effort to lift the overall quality of health care in targeted communities, reduce racial and ethnic disparities, and provide models for national reform.

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Jan 1 2013
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United We Stand… for Patients

Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Senior Adviser for Nursing and Director, Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. This post is part of the "Health Care in 2013" series.

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It is a time of year when we celebrate, reflect and make resolutions.  When I think about the nursing community, there is so much that makes me proud.  I am proud of all the ways nurses care for patients. I am proud of how we are adapting to a fast-changing health care system. I am proud of the ways we work effectively in interdisciplinary teams.  And I am proud of the many ways we organize to make our health care system work, especially for the most vulnerable patients.

Following the heartbreaking tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, with such devastating loss of life, I was so proud to see that 30 major nursing organizations…and probably more now…came together in one collective voice to advocate to the highest public officials in our land on behalf of all those who need our care. The “call to action” from leading nursing organizations meant that, once again, we took a united stand, as nurses, to proclaim that we care…and we will speak out about what must be done on behalf of the people who put their trust in us. 

This made me proud to be a nurse.  And it makes me proud to know that we are asking nurses to speak out and effect change as part of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.  We are asking that the nursing community come together, not for their own benefit…but on behalf of the people and patients who need nurses the most. 

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