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New Administration Conducts Summit Addressing Health Reform

Posted Mar 27 2009 10:48am

Things might be looking up for the nursing profession, thanks to the new administration in Washington. On March 5, 2009, American Nurses Association (ANA) president, Rebecca M. Patton, RN, MSN, CNOR was among 100-plus invitees in attendance at the first White House Forum on Health Reform.

Health care professionals, lawmakers and other stakeholders were brought together at the forum to express specific concerns and to highlight issues each considers of paramount importance.

The following issues were included on the ANA’s agenda:

 The need for a nursing workforce investment plan to combat the nursing shortage.
 Full utilization of advanced practice nurses as a cost-effective method to promote wellness, coordinate care and manage chronic illness.
 Promoting recognition that safe staffing is essential by the reintroduction of legislation that holds hospitals accountable for unit by unit staffing plans, based on each unit’s unique needs and developed with input from the nursing staff.
 The need for more public reporting to give transparency to clinical measures and health outcomes of providers.
 Separating the cost of nursing care from that of room and board. Nursing care should be set apart and billed for separately.

Speaking at the summit’s closing session, President Obama validated the need for nurses and nurse educators and the essential role nurses play in the health care system.

Patton told ADVANCE for Nurses, “To me, it looks like we at least have a president who gets it.”

Thank goodness! Nothing as big as solving our health care woes can be accomplished overnight and the president has asked us to be patient on many fronts. I’ll try, but my frustration often precludes patience. I am simply eager—perhaps even desperate—to see significant progress in educating greater numbers of nurses and for a greater general recognition of and appreciation for the crucial and weighty contributions nurses make to the health of our country’s populace.

It appears the Obama administration is on the right track to effect positive change for the nursing profession and I, for one, am not hoping to see our president fail.

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