5 Ways Nurses Are Transforming Healthcare

In May, Chamberlain University joined healthcare professionals across the nation in celebrating Nurses Week. Chamberlain capped off the weeklong celebration with a town hall featuring a panel of the following healthcare leaders:

• Susan L. Groenwald, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN – President of Chamberlain University

• Monika Black, PhD – Co-Founder and Chief Strategist of Tandem Spring

• Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, FAAN – Associate Vice President of Programs at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

This event aimed to inspire, empower and educate the nursing community, while highlighting the impactful role nurses play in the future of healthcare.

Check out five ways nurses are transforming healthcare, as discussed by our panel of experts below:

1. Nurses are Stepping into New Leadership Roles

The nursing profession has seen a major shift within the last decade, with more nurses stepping off the floor and into the boardroom. Nurses are now a part of the conversation on the future of patient care and healthcare. The value added by nursing professionals’ hands-on experience with patients is impossible to ignore, making nurses some of the most sought-after leaders of the day.

“Ultimately, it’s about creating an opportunity for the best leadership to rise to the top. For the first time in years, these spaces are opening up for nurses to become a part of the conversation. I think for a long-time, nurses were only seen as leaders on the floor. But in order for us to improve greater health outcomes, nurses had to become part of the conversation. It’s become necessary for the future of healthcare to put nurses at the forefront.” – Monika Black, PhD

2. Nurses are Creating a Culture of Health

Over the last several years, the focus of the healthcare industry has shifted from simply treating a patient’s ailments to a broader vision of building a culture of health. A culture of health strives to treat the individual as a whole being, not just their physical health. The experts suggested that such changes should be led by the largest, most trusted health profession: nurses.

“We know it’s going to take a lot of work across many sectors, but we know that at the heart of this issue is nursing and nurses. Nurses are the largest health profession. Nurses are the most trusted health profession. Nurses approach healthcare from a holistic standpoint. We think all of those things are a part of a culture of health vision and that’s why nurses are so important.” - Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, FAAN

“When I first entered the healthcare industry, I realized very quickly that it’s the nurses who drive the care. It’s the nurses that are leading these organizations from the inside out. It’s important to understand the power of nurses. They have the access to patients, they are the ones creating a touchpoint with patients and building that trust. It’s important for the future of healthcare to make these nurses the touchpoints in our communities to help transform our society.” – Monika Black, PHD

3. Nurses are Pursuing More Advanced Degrees

Now more than ever, nurses of all ages and education levels are headed back to the classroom to pursue advanced degrees. A devotion to lifelong learning and focus on staying current is giving nurses an edge that many are taking beyond their shift on the hospital floor.

“Nurses are being encouraged to continue their education to stay on top of their game and Chamberlain is working with students, new nurses and seasoned nurses alike, to give them options for continuing their education.  As nurses, we talk about wanting to be involved in policy changes, boardroom discussions, and leadership decisions and in order to do that, we have to prepare ourselves to be in those positions. And that takes education and experience. I believe strongly that nurses need to continue their lifelong learning through education and advanced degrees.” – Susan Groenwald, PHD, RN, ANEF, FAAN

4. Nurses are on the Forefront of Patient Advocacy

The time spent interacting with patients on a personal level while treating their basic healthcare needs gives nurses a natural understanding of how healthcare professionals can best advocate for their patients. 

“Nurses are natural advocates. Nurses spend their whole lives advocating for people and they apply that strength and skill to the field of nursing. There are relationship strengths that build around empathy and harmony. There are strengths that focus on being a learner. I think those character strengths that nurses bring to the table and leverage in the field of healthcare is just as important as anything else nurses do.” – Monika Black, PhD

5. Nurses are Community Leaders and Changemakers

The compassion and empathy nurses bring to their professional careers does not stop when they leave work. Nurses invest in the communities they live in and create the spark needed to improve the lives of those around them. The passion and selfless dedication nurses exhibit daily is creating change on local, national and international levels. 

“Nurses are voted time and time again to be the most trusted profession and I think it’s our responsibility to uphold that. I think one of the ways nurses can do that is through role-modeling. We really need to live what we’re talking about. It’s one thing to talk about healthcare, but when you lead by example, you can create change on a local level.” – Susan Groenwald, PHD, RN, ANEF, FAAN

“I think if we lift our eyes sometimes and look beyond the individual, we can see what’s really going on in our communities that may be affecting people. People make the choices that they make because of the choices that they have. Nurses have the unique opportunity, as our society grapples with these bigger health issues, to bring attention to these issues. We have that trusted voice. We have that credibility. We have the science. We can really have an impact in a way we haven’t before and really create a change in our communities.” – Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, FAAN

Interested in hearing more from our panel of experts? Watch the full town hall replay.

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