Nurses Leading the Way

Carol J. Bickford, PhD, RN-BC, CPHIMS | May 6, 2014

Happy National Nurses Week to all nurses as we celebrate from May 6 until May 12, 2014! Also, Happy Nursing Informatics Day on May 12, 2014, which is also an important day in nursing history because it is Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

This year’s National Nurses Week theme: “Nurses Leading the Way” is an inspired and accurate descriptor of today’s healthcare environment, especially in the health IT sector. Although the debate about the actual number of actively licensed registered nurses continues, the approximation of over 3.1 million nurses absolutely confirms these professionals dominate the health care workforce and constitute the “magic glue that holds it all together.” Health care consumers continue to value nursing’s contributions and identify nurses as the most trusted professionals.

Nurses are leading the way by:

  • Improving the quality of health care, and ultimately the health of the nation.
  • Advocating on behalf of patients and the nursing profession.
  • Working together to strengthen the work of the profession and improve patient care.
  • Creating a healthcare system that enhances collaboration, high-performance and positive outcomes.

Most individuals and organizations instantly gravitate to thinking of nurses in clinical practice, the largest constituent, as being the leaders accomplishing and enabling the above actions and outcomes. However, informatics nurses share the limelight as well because of their leadership and successes in so many ways.

The ANA workgroup tasked with the review and revision of the new nursing informatics scope and standards of practice used that opportunity to delineate how informatics nurses and informatics nurse specialists are actively engaged or leading efforts associated with improving the quality of health and the health of the nation, as well as vigorously advocating on behalf of patients and the nursing profession. This is especially important as our health-care system becomes more patient-centric, “integrated,” “interoperable,” and ever more focused on mobile health solutions.

For the nurses reading this: take a moment to reflect on your own role and how you work with other nurses to identify, measure, and strengthen the work of our profession. How many times have you served as the project leader and gotten all stakeholders moving in the right direction to achieve successful outcomes, even though the initiative was not formally identified or resourced as a “project”? Take time to celebrate your contributions in improving patient care and the healthcare experience, whenever and wherever the activities occur. Remember that all settings across the healthcare continuum need nurses, informatics nurses, and effective quality healthcare information systems and solutions.

Finally, thank you for your past, continuing, and future leadership and innovative recommendations and solutions in moving forward in creating a healthcare system that enhances collaboration, high-performance, and positive outcomes. Cherish and enjoy this week of due recognition, but don’t rest on your laurels, and like Florence Nightingale, continue to be one of the “Nurses Leading the Way”.

As part of National Nurses Week, ONC will be hosting a webinar, “Ten Ways to Maximize Use of Technology: For You and Your Patients,” Tuesday, May 6, from 2 to 3 PM EDT. The webinar will provide practical tips to advance skills and provide knowledge to help nurses take advantage of the potential that health IT has to offer in improving care delivery.