Dean Berkowitz Joins Nurse Leaders in Hill Briefing

Legislative and nursing association staff in Washington D.C. heard Dr. Bobbie Berkowitz, Dean of Columbia University School of Nursing, and members of the Deans Nursing Policy Coalition discuss the centrality of advanced practice nursing to the health care system in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of the Affordable Care Act. Sponsored by the House Nursing Caucus, a bipartisan advisory organization, the July 19th briefing spotlighted the specialized education and training of advanced practice nurses (APNs) that make them uniquely qualified to provide the kind of cost-efficient, quality care that will be required as health care reform unfolds, particularly for minority and underserved populations, senior citizens, and children. Joining Dr. Berkowitz in the Congressional briefing were the deans of the nursing schools from Vanderbilt University, Emory, and the University of Rochester. Nursing Caucus co-chairs, Congressman Steven LaTourette (R-OH) and Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA), also underscored the importance of nursing to the next chapter of the nation’s evolving health care system. In her presentation, Dr. Berkowitz called for a re-alignment between the formal, hospital-based health care system and the informal network of care often provided in clinics and residential settings. Most hospitals and physician specialists care for acute illnesses, she noted. But as more Americans live longer and become eligible for medical treatment, providers are going to need to care for increasing numbers of patients suffering from such chronic diseases as diabetes, which require periodic care best delivered outside the formal hospital setting. Many chronic diseases affect minority and underserved populations disproportionately. Advanced nurse practitioners are the obvious and logical solution to realign the two health care systems, she said. For this group of patients especially, APN’s are educated and trained not only to provide care in many different settings, at any given point in their lifespan, but also in factoring in socio-economic influences and lifestyle issues that affect the disease. Established in 2010, the Deans Nursing Policy Coalition also includes the deans of the schools of nursing of Duke University, Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. A full report of this Coalition briefing will be reported in the next issue of The Academic Nurse.


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