National Nurses Week: The Future of Nursing

Columbia Nursing Dean Sees New Laws Propelling Nurses into Additional Leadership Roles

In New York State, nurses are now in the eye of a perfect storm. First, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM's) landmark Future of Nursing report provides a framework for transforming education and transitioning models of care to focus on populations rather than individuals. At the same time, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) extends coverage to millions of Americans, many of whom will receive primary care from nurse practitioners (NPs). Building on this foundation, the Nurse Practitioners Modernization Act, recently passed as part of the state budget, will allow NPs to practice independently. Together, these three events are poised to transform the nursing profession and create unprecedented opportunities for advanced practice nurses to assume leadership roles in research, clinical practice, and health policy, says Columbia Nursing Dean Bobbie Berkowitz, PhD, RN, FAAN.

“The IOM report provided the evidence base that now serves as the backbone of the policy changes we’re beginning to see resulting from the Affordable Care Act,” Berkowitz said last month at the Center for Health Policy panel discussion on the changing health-care system and the future of nursing. “On top of that, in New York, after many, many years of work we have finally achieved this major milestone with scope-of-practice legislation.”

Starting next year, when the NP Modernization Act takes effect, advanced practice nurses with approximately two years of full-time work experience will be able to practice in New York without written agreements or protocols with supervising physicians. This will position NPs to play a bigger role in creating the patient-centered medical homes envisioned by the ACA—a team approach to care that is designed to increase communication among providers and enhance the quality of care while also reducing costs. “Patient-centered medical homes are going to be built with significant NP engagement,” Berkowitz said. “We are going to see an expansion of nurse-managed primary care.”

Read the full article on the Columbia Nursing website.