Can Nurses Help Us Fix Health Care?

By Jay Lauf

The health care system in America has never been more complex, and an essential part of the puzzle is nurses. As I know all to well over the past few years, being in that "sandwich generation" moment of my life; nurses are often the first and last face patients see during their hospital visit. They play a key role in the standard of care, and the effects of their work ripple through hospitals and across communities.

The Impact of One, presented by Capella University, illustrates how a nurse can have a positive influence -- on individuals and on our larger health care system. There is a lot of interesting data to consider in this report.

It also explores ways in which the work is personally meaningful for nurses themselves. Jenifer L.W. Fink, a nurse and blogger in the Impact of One site section, shares that the best part of the job is interacting with patients. 

"Nurses help people cope with challenging, life-changing circumstances," Fink writes. "Our patients welcome us into their lives, and in return, we respect their individuality and dignity."

Additionally, the work of Fink and other nurses is becoming more critical and valuable, but the health care industry is not keeping up with the demand.

According to health journalist Liz Seegert, the system needs to "add at least half a million additional nurses" by the end of this decade. To meet this demand, employment of registered nurses will grow "faster than the average for all other occupations," and they will be "needed and relied on more than ever."

To learn more about the future of nursing, visit The Impact of One.


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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2012/06/can-nurses-help-us-fix-health-care/259122/