For centuries, nurses have been visible at hospital bedsides and in medical offices, but changes in the healthcare system are transforming their role. Nowadays, the typical bedside-savvy nurse has turned into a highly skilled healer in the healthcare industry, and there is a great demand for these practitioners with the new Affordable Care Act (ACA). The eight million people enrolled in health insurance plans through the ACA have increased the need for nurses with broader skills.
Get Real Health’s Jenn Dunphy, BSN, OCN, CBCN — who plays a key role refining InstantPHR™’s data visualization and care management tools that enable effective communication between patients and providers — is certain the inflow of large numbers of patients with pre-existing conditions will require nurses with expertise in general medicine. “As we see these new patients who perhaps have been underserved, or have had limited care, it is likely that we are going to need more people in both nursing and medicine who can work in family medicine or internal medicine and who have general knowledge as opposed to a specialized care background,” said Dunphy.
Nursing industry researchers believe the demand challenges will open new doors for registered nurses as informatics specialists, care coordinators, faculty team leaders, nurse/family cooperative and primary care providers. According to Dunphy, “It’s a critical time for enhancing nursing curriculums and practices to better educate nurses who can deliver high quality care to diverse populations.”
With the Affordable Care Act, nurses will also have an essential role to play in workplace health management. The law emphasizes prevention and health promotion across society, and Dunphy says the occupational role practitioner can make a significant contribution in protecting and improving the health of the working population by encouraging physical fitness.
“Occupational nurses need to be cheerleaders in the workforce and become more creative in integrating physical fitness on the job. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, and there are ways to get employees moving — like start a lunch-time walk, give out incentives for biking to work, plan a fitness demo, or create after-work basketball or softball teams. Those are just a few examples of how nurses can promote physical fitness to generate a healthier workforce, increase profitability and performance, as well as reduce healthcare costs,” said Dunphy.
The nursing profession has come a long way since the days of Florence Nightingale. Clearly, the nurses of this era are shaping and leading the future of the healthcare system and improving healthy living thanks to ACA challenges and opportunities at hospitals’ bedsides and in the private sector.
At Get Real Health, we pay tribute to nurses and celebrate their accomplishments in the 21st century.
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