California Nurses Strive To Take on Larger Role in Health Care System

TOPIC ALERT:

California nurses are preparing to implement initiatives that would help them play a larger role in the health care system as the U.S. rolls out the federal health reform law, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.

Nurse leaders and supporters recently discussed their plans during a town hall meeting in Sacramento (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 8/12).

Background

In December 2010, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched a campaign aimed at implementing recommendations from an Institute of Medicine report that called for expanding nurses' scope of practice.

In its recommendations, IOM urged states and the federal government to eliminate barriers that narrow advanced practice nurses' scope of practice.

The campaign is working closely with AARP and five states -- California, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey and New York -- which are organizing pilot programs to advance nursing-related issues at the local, state and national levels (California Healthline, 12/1/10).

Plan Details

In California, RWJF and AARP have teamed up with the California Action Coalition to implement the recommendations from the IOM report.

The groups aim to:

  • Survey nurses to determine how they want to participate in the changes and how to encourage nurse leadership;
  • Expand on a 2009 bill (AB 1295) that aims to develop better ways for nursing students to move from associate degree programs to bachelor's degree programs;
  • Double the number of nurses with doctoral degrees who would work on the research and academic side of the profession; and
  • Increase the number of practicing nurses with doctoral degrees (Sacramento Business Journal, 8/12).
Tom Johnson
Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system. They are in the schools, in clinics, in the homes and in the hospitals. Their role in institutional settings is augmented by their contributions in prevention, chronic disease management and education. The California Institute for Nursing and Health Care (CINHC) has been selected as the administrative home for the California Action Committee. It would be important for public entities and businesses to get behind this effort with fiscal support in order to continue the momentum that has been started in California in maximizing the contributions of nurses to the health of our citizens.

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