Going the Extra Mile: The Growing Need For Nurses With an MSN

The US healthcare industry is undergoing major changes in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, while Canada strives to sustain the tenets of the Canada Health Act. Much of the impact of global changes to healthcare policy falls on the nurse at the point of care. As patient advocates, nurses must be prepared to acquire more authority and provide more legislative direction as an agent of change. As the shortage of general practitioners and primary care physicians continues to rise, nurse leaders need to provide evidence-based nursing care and gain more autonomy in the nursing field. Graduate and ‘specialty’ programs in nursing (Canada/US) promote a readiness for the challenges of the future of nursing.

Nurses Need More Authority

Online certification classes and advanced degrees in nursing allow nurses opportunities to advance their knowledge and apply a seamless academic leap in an advanced position. With over three million nurses in America, nurses can continue their education, advance their roles and gain more autonomy. As the healthcare professionals on the front line of care, nurses need to prepare for more responsibility with patient care and overcome the barriers with the empowerment of an advanced education.

Nurses Collaborate with Physicians as Full Partners

According to the Institute of Medicine/Robert Wood Foundation Report on the Future of Nursing, nurses should pool resources with physicians and other members of the disciplinary team in redesigning healthcare and meeting the growing shortage of primary care physicians. As 17 million more citizens gain access to healthcare by 2020, the family practice physician shortage will increase to over 65,000. Nurses can not only close this gap but may also provide care at a more affordable cost.

Nursing in Administration and Legislation

Preparing for the changes in healthcare also include that nurses are positioned in administration, bargaining and legislative roles. The current legalities that govern the scope of practice create barriers that limit nurses far beyond their experience, education and training. Nurses who wish to play a vital role in the transformation of healthcare must be prepared to influence current regulatory, governmental and healthcare organizations to support change and advance health.

Nursing Leaders in Education

As an agent of change, nursing educators must prepare student nurses at all levels of care to be part of the fundamental renovation of a new healthcare industry. By providing leadership, educators provide a strong nursing workforce that is well-prepared for the challenges of an ever-changing healthcare industry.

Research and Evidence-Based Practice

As healthcare dollars are funneled through specialties and expensive diagnostics, nurses need to justify their practices with evidence-based research. Research nurses conduct scientific trials and conduct patient surveys that establish the validity of the nursing practice. It is imperative that nurses use research and other data to establish the nursing profession as an invaluable service to patient care. According to healthcare act standards, research must be provided to support preventative measures and patient education in self-care and caregiving for family members in communities that may not have access to healthcare.

The Nursing Environment and Safety

Finally, the nursing shortage will continue to place nurses at risk for unsafe patient ratios and overwhelming workloads. As more patients acquire access to healthcare, hospitals and other facilities may not be prepared for the increase in numbers and may sacrifice the quality of care. All healthcare professionals must be part of the transformation of healthcare, and nurses are the greatest stakeholders.

Blake Pappas
Freelance Writer

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