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"My Definition of Diversity Was Altered When I Had the Opportunity to Experience Life Differently"

Jun 21, 2013, 9:00 AM, Posted by Cindy Anderson

Cindy Anderson, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, FAHA, FAAN, is a professor and associate dean for research at the College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines, University of North Dakota. A Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Salem State College, and both a Master of Science degree in parent-child nursing and a PhD in physiology from the University of North Dakota. This is part of a series of posts looking at diversity in the health care workforce.

I was born and raised in the Boston area which we always referred to as the “melting pot.”  My grandparents emigrated from Eastern Europe and I grew up hearing stories of the “Old Country” which included both fond memories and atrocities that drove them to leave their homes and find a better way of life in America. As a second-generation American, I have always embraced the common and unique perspectives of others from a variety of backgrounds.

I began my career as an Air Force nurse, advancing my opportunity to engage with others from varied backgrounds and cultures. In the course of my career, I found myself stationed at the Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota. My initial perceptions were based upon the stereotype that North Dakota was a rural, isolated state with little diversity. My misperceptions were quickly reversed when I had a chance to engage with the community. My awareness and respect for the unique diversity of rural North Dakota has steadily grown over the last three decades which I have been fortunate to spend in this great state.

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Health Issues on Ballots Across the Country

Nov 9, 2012, 9:00 AM

Voters across the country were presented Tuesday with more than 170 ballot initiatives, many on health-related issues. Among them, according to the Initiative & Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California:

- Assisted Suicide: Voters in Massachusetts narrowly defeated a “Death with Dignity” bill.

- Health Exchanges: Missouri voters passed a measure that prohibits the state from establishing a health care exchange without legislative or voter approval.

- Home Health Care: Michigan voters struck down a proposal that would have required additional training for home health care workers and created a registry of those providers.

- Individual Mandate: Floridians defeated a measure to reject the health reform law’s requirement that individuals obtain health insurance. Voters in Alabama, Montana and Wyoming passed similar measures, which are symbolic because states cannot override federal law.

- Medical Marijuana: Measures to allow for medical use of marijuana were passed in Massachusetts and upheld in Montana, which will make them the 18th and 19th states to adopt such laws. A similar measure was rejected by voters in Arkansas.

- Medicaid Trust Fund: Voters in Louisiana approved an initiative that ensures the state Medicaid trust fund will not be used to make up for budget shortfalls.

- Reproductive Health: Florida voters defeated two ballot measures on abortion and contraceptive services: one that would have restricted the use of public funds for abortions; and one that could have been interpreted to deny women contraceptive care paid for or provided by religious individuals and organizations. Montanans approved an initiative that requires abortion providers to notify parents if a minor under age 16 seeks an abortion, with notification to take place 48 hours before the procedure.

- Tobacco: North Dakota voters approved a smoking ban in public and work places. Missouri voters rejected a tobacco tax increase that would have directed some of the revenue to health education.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.

The Journey to National Nursing Minimum Data Sets

Jul 23, 2012, 3:25 PM, Posted by Patricia Moulton

By Patricia Moulton, PhD, executive director, North Dakota Center for Nursing and  co-lead, North Dakota Action Coalition

In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a groundbreaking report on the future of nursing that identifies as one of its key messages the need for improved data collection and an enhanced information infrastructure as requirements for effective workforce planning and policy-making.

The report, called The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, recognizes that data “on the numbers and types of health professionals currently employed, where they are employed and in what roles” is imperative to the establishment of accurate workforce projection models. Such models are necessary to inform policy-makers in their aim to ensure effective workforce planning as well as to make needed changes in nursing practice and education to meet population needs.

Nurse leaders and researchers are working toward that goal.

In 2008, before the IOM released its report on the future of nursing, the Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers embarked on a multi-year process to develop minimum data sets for the collection of nursing education, supply and demand data across the 34 nursing workforce centers. The minimum data sets were finalized in 2009 and are available at the forum’s website

For the project, the forum’s research committee recently surveyed the 34 current nursing workforce centers to determine how many have implemented the minimum data sets.

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