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School of Nursing Hosts Regional Awareness Meeting to Kick Off Maryland's Campaign for Action on the Future of Nursing

The University of Maryland School of Nursing hosted one of 70 regional "awareness meetings" Nov. 30 in conjunction with the National Summit on Advancing Health through Nursing, convened in Washington, D.C., by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to support the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) recommendations on expanding the role, education, and compensation of nurses.

Only a month earlier, the IOM concluded its two-year examination of the nursing profession with a call to give nurses a seat at the policy table and remove the practice barriers that prevent them from fully contributing to better health and a more effective health care delivery system.

University of Maryland School of Nursing Dean Janet D. Allan, PhD, RN, FAAN, welcomed participants to the daylong meeting and described the timing of the report as the "perfect storm" to coincide with health care reform. Allan has endorsed the IOM recommendations saying, "The IOM report on the future of nursing marks a new dawn for a profession instrumental to the nation's well-being, but constrained by institutional and regulatory bonds that limit its ability to perform to the full measure of its potential."

Among its sweeping recommendations, the IOM says:

* Eliminate collaborative agreements and physician oversight of advanced practice nurses.

* Compensate advanced practice nurses at the same rate as their medical colleagues under Medicare, Medicaid, and private carriers for performing the same work.

* Make advanced practice nurses full partners in the leadership of medical homes.

* Lift practice barriers that make it difficult for nurses to get patients the care they need, such as putting nurses on provider panels and giving nurses authority to admit patients to hospitals and hospices.

* Double the number of nurses with doctorates, raise the educational bar for entry-level nurses, and create a seamless educational ladder.

Allan said, "The IOM's call to unleash the power of nursing is especially welcome at this point in history, as we grapple with how to make good on the promise of affordable, accessible, high-quality health care for all. Advanced practice nurses have proven time and again their competence as autonomous, independent decision-makers to deliver safe, effective primary care, anesthesia care, obstetric and gynecological care; to treat mental health disorders; and to stabilize those suffering from chronic diseases and keep them in the best shape possible. They are the backbone of the health care system at every level.

"We must put aside protectionist rhetoric in the interest of public welfare and give nurses the authority to do what they do best," said Allan.

She continued, "As one of the largest nursing schools in the nation, with some 1,000 students enrolled in master's and doctoral programs, we are excited about the prospects for our future graduates and our alumni, who constitute a significant share of Maryland's nursing work force. We are committed to using our resources to advance the implementation of the IOM's recommendations."

The National Summit, which brought together more than 600 health care leaders in D.C. and thousands more nationwide at simultaneous awareness meetings, was the first step in RWJF's "Campaign to Action," the engine that will drive implementation of the IOM recommendations. The campaign is designed to work through regional coalitions that will engage industry, government, academia, and consumers to achieve solutions tailored to meet local needs and create a collective voice for change at the federal level.

The IOM describes its mission "as adviser to the nation to improve health." It is an "independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision-makers and the public. Established in 1970, the IOM is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, which was chartered under President Abraham Lincoln in 1863."

Posting Date: 12/01/2010
Contact Name: Ed Fishel
Contact Phone: 410-706-3801
Contact Email: efishel@umaryland.edu