Dear OADN Members:
As you are aware, I had the privilege to address the newly formed committee for the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 Consensus Study in Washington DC on March 20 at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. It was an honor to be present and address the committee, individuals present, and over 3000 participants on-line. I would like to share my comments with all of you as we continue to move forward for the next Future of Nursing Report.
"On behalf of the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN) I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Academies of Science, Committee Chair, Co- Chair, Committee Members, Dr. Susan Hassmiller and Dr. Susan Reinhard, to allow time for comments at this momentous time in nursing and healthcare history at the inaugural meeting of the Future of Nursing 2020 – 2030 Consensus Study. It is an honor to provide a perspective from the OADN membership which represents the more than 1100 community colleges across the country. These community-based institutions educate over 50% of all newly licensed professional registered nurses, an average of 81,000 annually.
OADN has been deeply engaged in nursing education transformation since the release of the Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report in 2010. OADN worked with RWJF and the Campaign for Action to support the recommendations of the original report to ensure all nurses have access to high-quality, efficient options for seamless academic progression. OADN’s continued leadership on these efforts led to our co-founding of the RWJF-supported National Education in Progression in Nursing (NEPIN) Collaborative, with a goal of 90% of new ADN graduates achieving the BSN or higher by 2025. As RWJF has said community colleges are a vital part of the nursing workforce and have the capacity to provide individuals with the ability to launch careers, setting them on path to achieve goals, and helping our nation meet access needs for an aging and chronically ill population. Community colleges have a crucial role in preserving nursing as a profession. Nowhere is this more important than in the many communities across the country that rely on these colleges to provide an educational approach that serves as a solid foundation for baccalaureate and higher degree obtainment.
OADN voices strong support for the Future of Nursing 2020 -2030 Report to study the important role nursing plays in improving the health of communities. As the committee begins to chart a path for this work, it is imperative to collaborate with and leverage the role of our nation’s community colleges in addressing the social determinants of health and healthcare access. A recent study conducted by OADN validates there is evidence of creative strategies for incorporating population health concepts and learning experiences into the community college student’s education. In many ways, these programs are prime exemplars of integrating population health competencies, as these programs are connected to all communities and all care settings, particularly those serving our most vulnerable populations. OADN is pleased to see that the committee will take on the need for all levels of nursing across the care continuum to address the many challenges associated with the culture of health and to meet health care demands. Additionally, we know that individuals fare better when cared for by those who understand their culture and the social determinants of health in their communities. Most community college graduates choose to stay in their community and as a result understand those dynamics. Community colleges exist in a wide variety of geographic areas across the United States, providing an important portal for diverse students, while offering lower tuition costs. These schools are essential to not only meeting the needs of the nursing workforce but the entire healthcare workforce.
This is a dynamic and unique time in the history of the nursing profession as we embark on this new study. Significant progress has been made to reach the recommendations of the original Future of Nursing report, but there is more to be accomplished. There is a synergy now that is compelling and unique, and the nursing community must lead in a unified approach to ensure the culture of health is the norm.
OADN recognizes the importance of this report and that assessing the capacity of the nursing profession to meet the future health care needs will only be successful with all of us working together. The contribution that 1100 community colleges offer is critical in this national effort to create a culture of health and improve the wellbeing of our communities through nursing. Thank you for the opportunity to share OADN’s perspective and we look forward to our continued work with the committee."
All the best,
Donna Meyer, MSN, RN, ANEF, FAADN