Advancing Excellence now embraces nurses in policy

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Debra Bakerjian encourages nurses to make their voices heard.
Debra Bakerjian encourages nurses to make their voices heard.

Nurses' efforts to be leaders in a national effort to improve long-term care showed how they can attain greater influence over healthcare policy, according to an article recently published in Geriatric Nursing.

When the Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes campaign launched in 2006, the kickoff event did not include a single speaker representing nurses, the article explains. Leaders of nursing organizations promptly formed a coalition and sought seats at the table. Nurses were chairing committees within months, and a nurse was selected as the campaign's vice chairperson at the end of the first year.

The paper was coauthored by a number of the nurses who led this push. They achieved success in part because they made a decision to focus on resident needs rather than being “disruptive” about the initial “omission of nursing,” they wrote. They focused on consensus-building among themselves and other Advancing Excellence stakeholders  and this played to the skills they had developed by “bringing diverse groups together” to coordinate patient care.

Advancing Excellence happily “welcomed” the nurse leaders, author Debra Bakerjian, Ph.D., RN, FNP, FAANP, emphasized to McKnight's. However, prior research has shown that it's not uncommon for nurses to be an “afterthought” when health policy is being debated, she said.