National Summit on Advancing Health Care Through Nursing – A Call to Action!!
On November 30, Mary Pat Olson and I had the opportunity to attend the National Summit on Advancing Health Care Through Nursing. Over 500 people were in attendance, with thousands more attending via webinar. The impetus for the summit was the recently released report “The Future of Nursing – Leading Change, Advancing Health.” The 500-page report includes recommendations and findings from the Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on The Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine.
It was one of the most exciting and inspiring summits I have ever been to. The days were filled with insightful speakers from the Institute of Medicine, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Donna Shalala, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services who said this initiative is not only about nursing - it is about the future of our health care system and our need to transform it to improve quality. Nurses are essential to this transformation. Secretary Shalala introduced members of the committee who explained a few key recommendations.
The afternoon began with Don Berwick, MD, current Administrator for The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) and former President of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement. I will tell you right up front that he is one of my favorite speakers of all time – and he did not let me down that day, either. In fact, his stock went up in my book!
He humbly began by describing CMS as the largest insurance company in the world, with 100 million beneficiaries. He shared their newly defined vision:
“Major force and trustworthy partner for continual improvement of health and healthcare for all Americans.”
He then referred to the 2010 Affordable Care Act as “a stunning bill,” “a terrific piece of legislation,” that “creates immense possibilities.” He said he “felt lucky to be alive at this time in history.”
He reminded everyone that the current health care system is “incapable” of providing the necessary healthcare and a transformation is required. He described the newly launched Center for Innovation, which will distribute $10 billion to discover new approaches and then fund their development and spread.
Berwick’s three aims were quite clear: “Better Care, Better Health and Lower Cost.” He spoke about how fragmented our health care system is now and how integrated it needs to become. He stated we have “real people with real needs, and who better than nurses can understand the interdependency, tradition of caring, and focus on respect” necessary for this integration.
He concluded by saying, “Nursing’s time is now!” Simply amazing.
Mary Pat and I became so excited, we committed to sending the Executive Summary/Report Recommendations to every CNO and Dean in the Chicago metro area. We are asking you to distribute it to every nurse in your organization or student in your school of nursing. We are also asking that you discuss it in your meetings, classrooms, and councils to raise awareness and build momentum.
Robert Wood Johnson, in partnership with AARP, is developing a nationwide action plan, as well as a repository of actions and successes to share around the country.
Please let us know that you have distributed the report to staff and students and are discussing it at meetings by commenting below. Please let us know how many nurses you have touched. Our goal is to report back at the national level that in only two short weeks we have engaged 94 CNOs, 45 Deans and Directors, and thousands of students and staff in this discussion. Let’s position Metro Chicago as a leader in this transformation.