Nursing Practice, Research and Education in the West: The Best Is Yet to Come

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Western Institute of Nursing, the nursing organization representing 13 states in the Western United States, and envisions a preferred future for nursing practice, research, and education.

Background

Three landmark calls to action contribute to transforming nursing and healthcare: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010; the Institute of Medicine report Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health; and the report Advancing Healthcare Transformation: A New Era for Academic Nursing. Challenges abound: U.S. healthcare remains expensive, with poorer outcomes than other developed countries; costs of higher education are high; our profession does not reflect the diversity of the population; and health disparities persist. Pressing health issues, such as increases in chronic disease and mental health conditions and substance abuse, coupled with aging of the population, pose new priorities for nursing and healthcare.

Discussion

Changes are needed in practice, research, and education. In practice, innovative, cocreated, evidence-based models of care can open new roles for registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses who have knowledge, leadership, and team skills to improve quality and address system change. In research, data can provide a foundation for clinical practice and expand our knowledge base in symptom science, wellness, self-management, and end-of-life/palliative care, as well as behavioral health, to demonstrate the value of nursing care and reduce health disparities. In education, personalized, integrative, and technology-enabled teaching and learning can lead to creative and critical thinking/decision-making, ethical and culturally inclusive foundations for practice, ensure team and communication skills, quality and system improvements, and lifelong learning.

Conclusion

The role of the Western Institute of Nursing is more relevant than ever as we collectively advance nursing, health, and healthcare through education, clinical practice, and research.

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