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Rounds with Leadership: Rallying Support for Nursing Education

Published May 23, 2018

Welcome to Rounds with Leadership, a new forum for AACN’s Board Chair and President/CEO to offer commentary on issues and trends impacting academic nursing.

May 23, 2018 -  

Rallying Support for Nursing Education

Underlying all the recent recognitions and celebrations held earlier this month in honor of National Nursing Week is a growing appreciation for the contributions nurses make in keeping patients healthy and saving lives. As the most trusted healthcare provider, nurses are the backbone of the U.S. healthcare system. Nurses serve as interpreters of complex information – often in a time of crisis – and are an integral part of the healthcare team. Across patient settings and in a variety of roles, registered nurses provide patients and their families with the information they need to keep themselves well and lead healthier lives.

Because nurses spend more time with patients than do all other providers, they bring a unique and important perspective to the many issues confronting health care today. From mounting concerns over patient safety to the growing need for primary care providers, nurses are on the frontlines working to resolve these issues and advance the solutions needed to repair a fragmented care delivery system.

In conversations with legislators, healthcare providers, and other opinion leaders, nurse educators have a responsibility to advocate for a larger, more highly educated nursing workforce. The evidence on this point is compelling. In settings where more registered nurses are available to provide care, patient outcomes are better. In hospitals where nurses are more highly educated, fewer lives are lost.

Given the policy discussions underway at the national and state levels to reform health care, we now have an incredible opportunity to underscore the true value of nursing. In discussions about moving toward a more quality-focused and cost-effective healthcare system, we must remind stakeholders that this preferred future can only occur with collective support for more well-educated, professional nurses.

With testimony provided by AACN Board Chair Ann Cary before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on April 26 and by AACN Government Affairs Committee member Dr. Julie Sanford before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee just yesterday, academic nursing leaders are coming forward to help inform federal policymakers about the need to support nursing education. AACN is here to support your efforts to advocate for nursing at the state and local levels with the following resources available:

  • Individual State Profiles on Nursing Education and Research Funding, which include state-specific enrollment and graduation data, a snapshot of the local workforce, and historical data on funding for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs and the National Institute for Nursing Research.
  • State-Specific Links, including statutes related to nursing practice; contact information for State Workforce Centers and other local stakeholders; and reports and resources addressing state scope of practice regulations.

 For more details, see AACN’s resources to support your local advocacy efforts.