May 17, 2019

Delaware Nursing Summit 2019- Setting the Nursing Agenda with Pat Polansky


This is the first in a series describing highlights from information shared by speakers at the Summit


“I am a health care provider.”   “I am a nurse…” began Pat Polansky, co-director of the Center to Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP, the AARP Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation AND a fellow Delaware nurse.  Pat opened the first Delaware Nursing Summit sponsored by the Delaware Nurses Action Coalition informing attendees about the work of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.  The event attracted over 100 nurses from across the state to examine opportunities for nurses as leaders to improve the health and health care of all Delawareans. It was held at the new Tower at STAR on the campus of the University of Delaware..


Pat noted there are 51 Action Coalitions across the country, creating a movement where nurses are essential partners in a rapidly changing health care system.  She cautioned that the speed of change is unlike anything she has ever seen in health care in her 50 years of nursing and nurses must be at the table.


The Campaign for Action has achieved critical benchmarks set by the 2010 IOM Future of Nursing Report:  Leading Change, Advancing Health, positioning nurses to meet the demands now facing health care.  These include:


  • Laws have changed in 24 states so that consumers have better access to health care.   The US Department of Government Affairs now allows APRN’s to practice without restrictions at VA facilities.


  • The Campaign promotes nurses as leaders in health, bringing experience and a unique perspective to meet the needs of consumers. The Nurses on Boards Coalition was founded to place more nurses in decision-making positions and now reports that 5,600 nurses are serving on boards.


  • The diversity of the nursing workforce has improved to better match the diversity in our country. There has been a 43% increase in the number of minority RN graduates and a 29% increase in the number of graduates who are male.


  • Nurses graduating with a BSN increased by 10% from 2010 to 2017 and the number of RN to BSN graduate nurses has tripled!


  • The number of nurses with doctoral degrees has more than doubled, exceeding the goal set by the Future of Nursing report.


  • A comprehensive plan to implement a system to accurately capture the nursing workforce was developed in 2016. (2019, Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. Campaign Successes.)


Pat introduced the new initiative from the National Academy of Science Engineering and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which is to chart the course for nursing through 2030.  The nursing profession has focused inward over the past ten years and now the emphasis will look outward.  The expectation is that nurses will be leaders in creating a culture of health in our communities by reducing health disparities  and improving the health and well-being of all in the U.S. (The Future of Nursing 2020-2030).


This is a big goal, with the full support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine explained Pat.  There are over 20,000 nurses in Delaware and nurses are the largest group of health care providers in the United States.  Together we will create a culture of health and well-being for all Americans.  We are Delaware nurses and this is our call to action- TOGETHER WE WILL!


The Delaware Nursing Summit was made possible with support from our sponsors:  Christiana Health Care System, Genesis Healthcare, Nemours/Alfred I. Dupont Children’s Hospital, St. Francis/Trinity Healthcare and the University of Delaware College of Nursing.


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