Just five years ago, a landmark report about nursing practice was released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM, 2011). The IOM’s report, Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, offered eight recommendations for nursing education, leadership, and practice. The report advocates for nurses to work to the full scope of their education and training. All nurses are encouraged to pursue higher levels of education and to prepare for leadership roles in a complex healthcare environment.
As the largest sector of the US health care workforce, nurses are at the forefront in working with patients, families, and communities, across all levels of care. With such extensive involvement in the care of individuals and populations, nurses also should engage as full partners in improving the country’s health care systems.
Just after release of the IOM report, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AARP recommended that states form Action Coalitions to assist in implementing the recommendations. With the involvement of nurses from across Kansas and support from the Health Forward Foundation, the Kansas Action Coalition (KSAC) was formed in 2011, to promote education and leadership opportunities for nurses, as a means to advance care quality across settings.
The KSAC uses a team structure for its work. The four teams include: education, practice, leadership, and Advocacy. KSAC members include nurses and non-nurses, or “nurse champions” from across the state. KSAC teams also are working to advance recommendations from the recently released Assessing Progress on the Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing report, which focuses on community involvement for nursing practice.
The KSAC education team is developing models for seamless academic progression, meaning that nurses are encouraged to advance from one level of education to the next, without artificial barriers that might impede progress.
The practice team is creating videos about nurses in diverse roles and practice settings that explain the diversity of nursing practice and illustrate some of the challenges to the full scope of practice for registered nurses and advanced practice nurses.
The leadership team helps develop nurses through a new online mentoring program, providing education about board service, and creating a webinar series about diverse leadership topics.
Through curricular assessments and interactive seminars, the advocacy team is helping build cultural competency skills among Kansas nurses.
Starting in February, the KSAC is implementing its statewide Kansas Nurse Leader Residency (KNLR) program. The program will be offered to nurses from four specialty areas: acute care, long-term care, public health, and school health. Each nurse resident will have a mentor to guide completion of a leadership project in their place of employment. Nurse residents will complete in-person sessions and online modules during the six-month program.
In July, all nurse residents will meet in Topeka to report findings from their leadership projects.
With support from the REACH Foundation, the KSAC also is actively involved in helping develop culturally competent nurses, so they may better provide equitable and quality care to diverse patients across a variety of health care environments. Nurses and nurse champions worked on cultural competency knowledge and skill development during the KSAC 4th Annual Summit, Creating a Culture of Health: Advocating for Diversity & Equity in Nursing.
The KSAC welcomes participation of students, nurses, and nurse champions who share the goal of promoting health. We are working toward this aim by preparing the nursing workforce to function as full partners in a complex health care system. We invite you to learn more about the KSAC. You can also like our Facebook page to keep current about the KSAC.