New Trends in Nursing … Leading for the Future
In 2010, only a few short years away, the first of 78 million baby boomers will turn 65, an age when people often start to require increased medical attention for cardiovascular and/or other diseases and conditions. Aging patients need more complex and intense care, while at the same time, insurers are pushing to reduce length of stay and lower costs hospital-wide. Nurses are at the center of this balancing act, striving to reach the goals set for clinical and financial excellence. In our current multidisciplinary world, each specialty often functions in parallel, focusing on specific contributions to the care process and short-term outcomes of the patient experience. But, to ensure the highest-quality, ‘best practice’ care, nurses must focus on more than the traditional role of bedside care-giving…Increasingly, they must coordinate the entire care continuum, forming partnerships among all key players of the hospital experience, including patients, families, physicians, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. Indeed, the nurse of the future will be involved in integrating multiple disciplines while prioritizing essential patient needs. But this is no easy task! In many ways, the role of new technology has revolutionized patient care delivery—specifically in terms of the traditional flow of patient information. Governmental mandates have motivated the healthcare industry to create access to electronic patient information in the hopes of coordinating care across multiple settings and providers, while ensuring continuity of care. Many industry vendors now offer clinical information technology that integrates information across departments, offers clinical decision-support, and reduces the potential for medical errors. By taking advantage of advanced clinical information technology, nurses will be able to coordinate overwhelming amounts of available patient data in real-time. In Corazon’s experience, sound nursing leadership is another key to transforming care delivery and advancing practice. Despite this fast-paced era of high-tech treatments, complex procedures, and barrage of highly-specialized practitioners, Nursing’s role will no doubt continue to evolve. Nurse executives have responsibility for creating an optimal care environment—one with satisfied patients, top-notch clinical outcomes, fulfilled staff, and a healthy balance sheet. Because of the rich competencies of nurse leaders today, including business savvy, extraordinary knowledge of the healthcare experience and environment, communication skills, relationship management competencies, and growing expertise with clinical information technology, they can serve as catalysts for positive organizational changes while remaining the foundation of the entire patient care process. Progressive nurse leaders know best how to align department goals with the organization’s goals for clinical, operational, and financial performance. And as leaders of the journey of patient care, their vision can help us see all the possibilities of this growing and evolving profession.
Katherine Kay Brown is Director of Consulting with Corazon, and Becky Ambrosini is a Consultant. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Corazon is a national leader in specialized consulting and recruitment services for CV program development. For more information, call (412) 364-8200 or visit www.corazoninc.com.