Dear OADN Members:
As a write this message to you the close of 2014 is upon us and we are fast approaching the beginning of 2015. Many of us at this time of year reflect on the past year and contemplate on what the future year will bring for us. For me, many of my thoughts center on the privilege of representing all of you and my work with OADN. It is truly inspiring and energizing. OADN has gone through a transformation and is recognized as a leading organization in the nursing profession. I am excited about the future and our work specifically on academic progression and leadership. I want to thank each of you for your support of OADN. This is our time of opportunity and to shape our destiny in the future of the nursing profession. As we begin the five year anniversary of the Institute of Medicine: The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health* report, it is a privilege to introduce this message from Dr. Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN Senior Advising for Nursing, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She truly values the work of OADN and all we do as community college nursing educators. So as we begin 2015, let us remember how important and relevant our work is to the future of the nursing profession.
Happy New Year!
All the best,
Donna Meyer MSN RN
Community Colleges and Academic Progression
Susan Hassmiller, PhD RN FAAN
When the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Future of Nursing recommended that 80% of all nurses in this country have a BSN or higher, they knew that community college faculty would have a key and lasting role in this effort. And indeed you have come through with flying colors. As I travel the country I have heard from so many of you about how you are mentoring and providing your students with the support to keep moving with their education. And importantly, you are collaborating with universities to make it easier for students to continue their education after earning an associate’s degree. You are a large part of the reason why RN-to-BSN enrollment has increased 57 percent from 2010 to 2014 following the release of the Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health*. In addition, I cannot tell you how important OADN has been as a leader in this effort, from Donna Meyer serving on our Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Academic Progression in Nursing National Advisory Council, to the organization now being part of the National Nurses on Boards Coalition. Your organization also came out early with a national press release with other organizations, such as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, on support of academic progression.
You are giving your students a highly valued education, while realizing that a more highly educated workforce is necessary to care for more complex patients with multiple chronic conditions in a myriad of health care settings, including the community. More nurses with advanced degrees are needed to teach the next generation of nursing students, conduct research, increase access to primary care, take on leadership roles and lead interprofessional teams. With health care transformation underway, we need to make sure that the nursing workforce is very well positioned to step into all the key roles that are expected of us.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AARP are leading The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a nationwide initiative to improve health through nursing by advancing the IOM recommendations. We understand that nurses face many hurdles in returning to school, and we want to make it as easy as possible for students to earn a baccalaureate degree and higher. That is why the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is spending millions of dollars to advance promising academic progression models, calling upon community college faculty as key advocates in this effort. The Campaign encourages chief nursing officers and other health care executives to support educational advancement through tuition reimbursement, mentoring, and flexible scheduling as well as rewards and benefits upon completion of the degree.
I am a community college graduate, and I understand firsthand that community colleges offer students an opportunity to pursue their educational dreams at a more affordable price. Community colleges also increase the diversity of the nursing workforce and are key to ensuring that our nation has an adequate supply of nurses. The current data indicate that 51% of all nurses hold a BSN or higher in this country. I call upon each and every one of you to help with our “80/20” goal. In addition to being more fully prepared to provide the best possible care across the entire health care continuum in a rapidly transforming system, and to position your students to have the maximum career flexibility that they all deserve. Thank you again for all you do to support the education of the next generation of nurses and the profession.
*IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2011. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Available at: The-Future-of-Nursing-Leading-Change-Advancing-Health.aspx
Donna Meyer MSN RN