HCR: Been There, Done That

By Maureen ‘Shawn’ Kennedy, AJN editor in chief

I was doing some research in the AJN archives and came across an editorial written in November 1993 by Virginia Trotter Betts, then-president of the American Nurses Association. “The Best Buy in Health Care” (click through to the PDF option; article will be free until July 18) reads like it was written with the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report in mind. Here’s an excerpt for those who don’t have access to the AJN archives (a shameless plug: subscribers have full access to ALL the issues of AJN, back to the very first issue in 1900—a treasure trove of nursing history):

“But we must also face the fact that such reform will require significant changes in nursing. Nurses will have to operate with greater autonomy and deliver care to a broader clientele. To foster enhanced roles for nurses as case managers and team leaders, nursing administrators must alert the work environment to offer a continuum of care on site and off site. Nurse educators will need to offer innovative programs, curricula, and clinical placements that prepare nurses for careers characterized by critical thinking and maximum flexibility. Nurse researchers will need to add more health care system, economic and policy studies to their repertoire.”

And another:

“Nurses want to do more in a reformed system to facilitate access at a reasonable cost.  We want to do what we are educated to do – provide basic health services like well and ill baby care, immunizations, and health screenings; manage chronic conditions; care for the sick and dying using both technology and interpersonal techniques; and a multitude of other essential services that are well within our expertise.  We want to educate our client and our communities and form a health care partnership with them.  We are team players and are ready to try to make new systems work for consumers.”

If only nurses ruled the world . . .

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Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.

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