| Washington, DC — As COVID-19 raged across the U.S. and around the world, more than 120 leaders in nursing and health care education, practice and policy convened in a virtual summit organized by the Tri-Council for Nursing. Their goal was to identify critical lessons learned from the pandemic and brainstorm opportunities for transforming nursing and health care, now and in the decades ahead. The just-published in-depth report, Transforming Together: Implications and Opportunities from the COVID-19 Pandemic for Nursing Education, Practice, and Regulation, details the blueprint for action that spans care settings, educational environments, regulatory agencies, and policy forums.
This report is expected to inspire innovative disruption around six distinctive themes deemed essential to the future of nursing education, practice and regulation: Equity and Health Equity; Ethics; Nursing Workforce; Innovation; Inter-Professional Emergency Planning and Response; and Mental Health and Wellbeing. Within each category, the group outlined priority items that present the most promising areas of opportunity and an actionable framework for educators, practitioners and public policy decision makers.
The report also contains sector-specific implications. The education sector, for example is advised to expand course curricula related to public health, crisis management, health equity, mental health, and social determinants of health. The practice sector, in turn, is urged to take steps to ensure worker and patient safety by addressing supply chain challenges like personal protective equipment (PPE) and test kits and equitable distribution of resources and supplies. Finally, those in the area of regulation are encouraged to work with state health departments and hospitals to prepare appropriate emergency declarations that pinpoint resources in limited supply.
AACN President and CEO Deborah Trautman, PhD, RN, FAAN said, “Transforming health care requires close collaboration among all stakeholders and a shared commitment to moving beyond the traditional and embracing the possible. By working together, academic, practice, and regulatory leaders can effectively co-create our preferred future by advancing opportunities for nurses to achieve educational and career goals, infusing innovation into practice models, promoting nurse wellbeing and resilience, and achieving health equity.”
ANA Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Loressa Cole DNP, MBA, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC, FAAN, said, “This report represents the collective thinking of a diverse group of leaders and is intended to accelerate the momentum and urgency for change as we move from the recovery phase of the pandemic to rebuild and ultimately thrive in the future.”
AONL CEO Robyn Begley, DNP, RN, FAAN said, “Born out of the many lessons learned from COVID-19, we’ve built a cross-sector framework focused on improving health care, better managing the ongoing pandemic, and ensuring a more effective response to any future pandemics. With this blueprint now in hand, health care stakeholders across care settings, functional levels, and sectors are poised to drive meaningful and positive change in nursing practice, education, and regulation now and into the future.”
NCSBN CEO David Benton, RGN, PhD, FFNF, FRCN, FAAN, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic was a worldwide cataclysmic event that impacted every single segment of society, this report is a distillation of the challenges that education, practice and regulation faced. More important than just enumerating nursing’s successes and shortcomings is that this group of nursing leaders were able to highlight the opportunities created in the midst of this crisis to design a framework to initiate a paradigm shift for post-pandemic health care advocacy.”
NLN President and CEO Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN said, “We believe we now have a clear mandate to foster new forms of cross-sector collaboration, like the virtual summit itself, to drive truly transformational change. Nurses, educators, policymakers and health care experts from all levels and settings can utilize this existing work as a building block in the imperative to capitalize on the lessons learned—successes as well as failures—over this past very difficult, devastating year.”
The virtual summit was funded by the American Nurses Foundation, under the direction of the Tri-Council. “The Foundation is leveraging nurses’ experience and lessons learned during the pandemic to foster transformation of the profession that will benefit and strengthen us as individuals, communities and a nation,” said Foundation Executive Director Kate Judge.
The Tri-Council for Nursing, as an alliance of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the American Nurses Association (ANA), the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL), the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), and the National League for Nursing (NLN), is a recognized leader in collective innovation and transformation.
In preparation for the virtual summit, held on December 3, 2020, the Tri-Council circulated a survey to collect and analyze data used to facilitate the design and content of the conference. In addition to now distributing the report, the Tri-Council intends to continue to identify implications, opportunities and actions from its member organizations to undertake, while inviting other professional associations and advocacy groups to participate in the efforts to drive change and innovation.
The full report is available online at TriCouncilForNursing.org.