Nation’s Nurse Leaders Convene in D.C.

    • March 19, 2013

Nurses and health leaders from across the country assembled in the nation’s capital in early March to advance a national campaign to transform the nursing profession in order to improve health and health care. Hundreds of participants shared ideas and developed plans to move their collective agenda forward at the Campaign for Action National Summit.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), kicked off the two-day event with a rousing call to take advantage of a “perfect opportunity” to transform the nursing profession and create a “culture of health.”

“We know the role that nurses play; we have strong evidence for that,” she said. “We know some of the things that can be put into place from a systems perspective to improve the quality of care. We are much more connected than we’ve ever been. And we have a better ability to use data, and to do big data, across states and across communities, than we’ve ever had before. So all of those things give us the opportunity to … learn from each other and create a movement for change.”

Backed by RWJF and AARP, the campaign—called the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action—is working to ensure that all Americans have access to high-quality, patient-centered health care. It is based on evidence-based recommendations about the future of the nursing profession that were released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2010.

Action Coalitions—groups of health care providers, consumer advocates, policy-makers, and business, academic and philanthropic leaders that are working to implement the IOM recommendations at the state level—are now active in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia. They are the driving force of the Campaign for Action, and members from each of the 51 Coalitions attended the summit.

“What is energizing me is that all of you are here, all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and that all of you know what needs to be done in your state and you have the power to find those solutions,” Lavizzo-Mourey said. “That’s what really energizes me.”

Lavizzo-Mourey gave a shout-out to New Jersey, where the state’s Magnet-certified hospitals have come together to support the campaign’s goals, and cheered the Texas Action Coalition, which has recruited a broad array of partners, ranging from physicians to economists to business leaders representing computer and helicopter companies.

The campaign aims to cultivate more nurse leaders; eliminate barriers that restrict access to care; improve care by promoting interprofessional collaboration; and enhance nurses’ ability to manage increasing numbers of diverse patients with multiple health conditions in a more complex health system.

Action Coalitions are working to achieve those broad goals by preparing nurses to lead health system change; enabling nurses to practice to the full extent of their training and education; promoting a team-based approach to health professions education and practice; strengthening opportunities for academic progression; and developing initiatives to increase diversity within the nursing workforce.

The summit was designed to help Action Coalition leaders and supporters identify their own priorities and understand those of other Action Coalitions, develop strategic plans to actualize those priorities, come up with new ways to increase their impact, and align state-level work with the national agenda.

To achieve results, Action Coalitions must bring their messages beyond the nursing community, deliver accomplishments in the coming 18 months, support effective leaders, generate funding to sustain their organizations and attend to diverse stakeholders, campaign officials said.

In its two years of existence, the Campaign for Action has seen progress on several fronts.

The Federal Trade Commission, for example, has challenged limits to nursing practice in eight states. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has expanded the term “medical staff” to include nurse practitioners and now supports the use of team-based and collaborative care for patients. Medicare launched a pilot initiative to pay for graduate nurse training at five hospitals. And the Health Resources and Services Administration has established a new center to promote interprofessional education and collaborative practice at the University of Minnesota.

The summit began with a Capitol Hill reception attended by several hundred nursing and health leaders, congressional staff and others.  The co-chairs of the House Nursing Caucus, Reps. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and David Joyce (R-Ohio), both attended the event.

“We are hopeful that the national summit was the start of more outreach, more engagement, more activity, and more diverse and enduring partnerships,” said Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, RWJF’s senior adviser for nursing in a blog post. “There is a lot riding on our success, for nursing, for health care, and for the country.”

Read more about Lavizzo-Mourey’s remarks and see video of the Campaign for Action National Summit.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey speaking at 2013 Summit on the Future of Nursing.