Jul 16, 2014

Champions of Nursing: Catholic Health Association

Catholic Health Association of the United States logoThe Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action is proud to recognize the Catholic Health Association (CHA), the largest group of nonprofit health providers in the United States, as a “Champion of Nursing.” As the voice of the Catholic health ministry in the United States, which consists of more than 600 hospitals and 1,400 long-term care and other health facilities nationwide, CHA is a powerful and influential force with a deep commitment to nursing.

The organization’s rich history is rooted in the contributions of Catholic sisters, many of whom were nurses. In 1727, a small group of French Ursuline sisters arrived in New Orleans and began nursing and caring for people in need. Seven years later, they opened the first hospital in America, and soon, sisters from other parts of the country followed, opening clinics and hospitals nationwide. These women played a key role in the development of Catholic health care in America.

Nearly two hundred years later, in 1915, it was lay nurses, lay doctors, and sisters who helped to found CHA. Today, nurses continue to play a critical role in the organization. The current president and CEO of CHA, Sister Carol Keehan, DC, RN, MS, is a nurse, as is the current chair of CHA’s board of directors, Deborah Proctor, BSN, MSN.

“Nurses are our legacy,” said Julie Trocchio, RN, MS senior director of community benefit and continuing care at CHA, who is also a nurse. “We are a legacy of our nursing sisters, and we stand on their shoulders.”

In addition to having nurses in leadership positions throughout the organization, CHA is also committed to working with nurses. The organization convenes nurse leaders regularly for networking and to exchange ideas, provides nursing resources, supports efforts to improve care for elders in acute care, and is working with AARP and other organizations to support family caregivers who perform challenging medical and nursing tasks. CHA recognizes the role that nurses across settings play in teaching families vital skills that ultimately result in better outcomes for the patient.

As a member of the Champion Nursing Coalition, CHA supports the Campaign’s efforts to prepare nursing to meet the health care demands of today and tomorrow by maximizing the use of nurses.

“It is an honor to lend our voice in support of the Campaign’s important work, which is vital to ensuring that we can provide high-quality health care for all people,” said Trocchio.

To learn more about the Campaign and how you can get involved, visit our website.

This story appeared in the July 2014 issue of Advancing Health: News from the Campaign for Action.