Rita K. Adeniran, DrNP, RN,CMAC, NEA-BC, is director of diversity and inclusion-global nurse ambassador at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow (2012-2015).
It is exciting and humbling to witness and talk about the positive transformation that nursing has been experiencing since the release of the 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on the future of nursing. The report emphasizes development of leadership programs that harness nurses’ capacity to lead change, and advance health and health care by creating innovative opportunities for education and professional growth. In addition to many other recommendations, the report calls for interdisciplinary collaboration and underscores the imperative for diversity of the nursing workforce to more appropriately reflect the diversity of the United States population.
More than ever before, nurses are recognized as key to leading successful and sustainable health care for the nation. Nurses are at the forefront of health and health care improvements, leading many quality initiatives. Comprehensive, cost-effective patient and family-centered models of care led by nurses are increasingly becoming popular.
With more nurses obtaining advanced degrees and practicing to the fullest extent of their education and skills, they are engaging side by side with members of interdisciplinary care teams to collaborate in clinical practice, and conduct research and enquiry that can provide solutions to some long-standing clinical problems.
As director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), our mission is to create environments where diversity is embraced, inclusion is promoted, and culturally competent health care services are delivered to all patients.
On November 14 and 15, 2014, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at HUP will hold its 4th biennial cultural competence symposium titled: Cultural Competence: Delivering on the Promise of Justice, Equity and Equality in Health Care. This program that started as an initiative in the department of nursing has now expanded to include members from other disciplines, thus evolving into a hospital-wide initiative, exemplifying the significance of nursing leadership that is delineated in the IOM report.
It is easy to see how the IOM report has provided direction and accelerated nurses’ leadership in health care. Nurses, the largest group of health care professionals, are equipped with new tools to meet the changing needs of patients, communities, and health care delivery system of the nation.
This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.