Jan 1 2013

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.


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. 

In the Campaign for Action, we are calling on nurses, individually and collectively, to advance their education, serve in leadership roles, eliminate barriers to care, work more collaboratively with others, create a more diverse workforce, and collect data so nurses can help make the best possible decisions for ourselves and our patients.  These are things that nurses do, collectively, to make a difference in patient care in this country. 

In this New Year, my resolution is to continue to help strengthen nurses’ voices… and to help facilitate conversations that will help unite nurses nationwide around what it will take to ensure readiness for the future health and health care demands of our country.  In this conversation, we recognize that it will take more than just nurses to help make these essential workforce changes.  We will call upon policy-makers, other funders, academic leaders, employers, payers, government officials, and other health professionals to help nurses help patients. 

Standing united to be the most competent, accessible and caring nurses for the people who need them…that’s the conversation I resolve to continue.

Learn more about the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.

Tags: Campaign for Action, Health Care in 2013, Nurses and Nursing, Nursing, Public and Community Health, RWJF Leaders