In 2010, the U.S. government ratified a law that immediately changed the fortunes of at least 30 million Americans. After years of struggle, the Obama administration engineered a massive change in the delivery of health insurance coverage. As a result, the aforementioned number of Americans is going to experience an upgrade in the delivery of healthcare services. However, its inevitable strain on America’s healthcare delivery system requires lateral improvements in critical areas of the said system.
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Since the nursing profession represents the largest sector of the U.S. health profession, enhancements in nursing education, nursing practice, and nursing leadership are critical changes that are needed to realize the goals under the expanded health insurance coverage.
Impact on Nursing Education
One of the critical areas that require a change in nursing education, specifically in the transition from school to practice (Institute of Medicine, 2016). According to the Joint Commission, the best course of action is to improve the current nurse residency programs. This goal is accomplished through the application of planned and comprehensive programs designed to allow nurses to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills that they will need in order to provide safe and high-quality care.
It has been pointed out that a significant number of nursing graduates end up in acute care settings. However, in the aftermath of the decision to expand health insurance coverage health, care facilities outside the jurisdiction of acute care delivery programs will require new hires. It is the prospect of having fresh graduates as new hires and lacking the requisite skills that encourage the creation of better transition programs. In addition, nurses are expected to achieve higher levels of education and training (Grossman, 2013).
Impact on Nursing Practice
As mentioned earlier, the bulk of nurses are geared towards working in acute care settings. However, as tens of millions of Americans are added into the list of recipients, great demands will also come from the primary care and prevention departments. Health experts foresee a significant increase in the need for primary care, not only because of the added focus on prevention but also as the result of greater need to manage chronic illnesses.
At this point in time, health experts lamented the fact that there exists a serious shortage in terms of nurses trained as primary care providers. Thus, in order to accomplish the aforementioned goals, it is imperative to increase the number of qualified nurses. Thus, policymakers and national leaders must work hand-in-hand to create more opportunities for nurses to experience a seamless transition to higher degree programs. For example, licensed practical nurses or LPN must have the opportunity to acquire an associate’s degree in nursing or ADN.
Impact on Leadership Role
Enhancement in education programs affects not only on the quality of education, but it also impacts the mindset of the nurses on the day they buckle down to do work. One of the main goals is to prepare nurses to assume leadership positions across all levels. As a result, nursing education programs are expected to integrate leadership theory and business management principles into the learning curriculum.
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Leadership theories and the acquisition of management principles must lead to a stronger commitment to the manifestation of the transformational type of leaders that this country needs. Strong leadership is needed at a time when serious upgrades and improvements are critical factors in increasing quality of care.
Improvements in learning and taking deliberate steps in assuming leadership roles are critical enhancements that will lead to the fulfillment of adjectives related to expanding the scope and efficiency of the U.S health care delivery system. Nonetheless, the proposed changes will remain as ideas and unfulfilled aspirations if nurses are not accepted as full partners working alongside physicians and other health professionals when it comes to redesigning the mechanisms that constitutes the health care delivery process in America.
Health care professionals must create opportunities for senior level nurses to participate in the identification of problematic areas, the creation of appropriate strategies, and the monitoring of improvements made over time (Holzemer, 2010). The successful integration of the nursing profession in the overall scheme of things depends on their degree of participation, especially when it comes to health policy decision making (Holzemer, 2010). Health care professionals must find ways to empower nurses to actively participate in advisory committees and policy boards.
The expanded health insurance cover that benefits an additional 30 million American citizens also creates problems related to the quality of care that is exacerbated by a significant increase in the demand for a top-notch health care delivery system. Creating steps to improve the capability and participation of nursing professionals is one of the key solutions to the related group of problems. As a result, there is a greater demand for enhancements in terms of the acquisition of knowledge and skills, leadership capabilities, and the participation of nurses in health care policy decision making.
Grossman, S. (2013). Mentoring in nursing: A dynamic and collaborative process. New York: NY: Springer.
Holzemer, W. (2010). Improving health through nursing research. New Jersey, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Institute of Medicine (2016). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Web.