May 10, 2013, 10:00 AM, Posted by Lynne Dunphy
Lynne M. Dunphy, PhD, FNP, is the founding nurse co-lead of the Rhode Island Action Coalition and an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program. She is a professor and associate dean of external affairs at the University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing, where she also holds the Routhier Chair of Practice. This is part of a series of posts for National Nurses Week, highlighting how nurses are driving quality and innovation in patient care.
At the University of Rhode Island, I teach a graduate course in health care policy. Rhode Island Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts recently spoke to my class about health reform, and I showed her around our college of nursing. As we walked through rooms with high-tech simulation equipment and other labs that imitate real-life practice, she raised a question that resonated with me: Are your students getting out into the community? This is where our health care needs of the future will be.
So many of our nursing students want to go into acute care, and I am concerned that they have not had enough exposure to the entire health care system. The following questions keep coming to mind:
- Do they learn enough about all the settings they could work in?
- Do they understand what their responsibilities and day-to-day activities would be in various settings, such as in a community health center or long-term care facility?
- Do they understand how to implement population-based care?
- Are they ready for the challenging work of visiting patients in home care settings?
- Are they truly prepared?