By Nita Kasan – Guest blogger
Chief Nursing Officer, The College Network
Nurses have always positioned themselves as leaders when it comes to patient care. The recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act marks the beginning of a new era of even greater emphasis being placed on nurse-led healthcare.
With an estimated 32 million more Americans to be insured by 2014, there will be increased demand placed on an already strained system. Nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses have the ability to provide the type of high-quality primary and preventative care that will help alleviate this strain. Nursing has the potential to play a key role in the transition from a “sick care” system to a “healthcare” system.
One key focus of the healthcare law is to provide further access to quality care for all, which highlights the need for increased capacity at healthcare institutions. Nurses can play an important role in expanding capacity through existing clinics. Nurse-managed health clinics are important healthcare access points. Providing treatment to disadvantaged patients where physicians are in short supply, these health centers are using advanced practice nurses to administer primary care, promote good health and encourage disease prevention.
Providing quality healthcare for all will require more highly educated healthcare providers. In addition to providing further access to patients, nurse-managed clinics can also serve as learning facilities for medical and pharmacy students, future social workers, public health students and many others. The clinics will benefit not only today’s patients, but many patients in the future. Medical professionals will have more opportunities to gain valuable training and skills that will make them great candidates to fill needed healthcare positions in the future.
Healthcare reform will change the role of nursing more significantly than any other healthcare profession. As a nurse, this is a chance for you to take a leadership role in the medical community. Nurses are in high demand and given recent legislation, will continue to be for many years to come.