Issues regarding the role of nurses in health care have been a topic of concern for decades. In October 2010, following a two-year investigation of national experts coordinated by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a landmark report: “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health”. It delineated how nursing can contribute to an improved American health care delivery system.
As a result of the initial IOM report, a national collaboration was formed between The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AARP Foundation, named the “Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action” to implement the report’s recommendations. The Center to Champion Nursing in America (CCNA), located at AARP, oversaw the national effort to achieve the IOM recommendations and provide technical support to those involved at state and local levels.
From the national campaign’s leadership, 51 state action coalitions were created including the Florida Action Coalition (FL-AC). The FL-AC is now called The Nursing Action Coalition of Florida (NACFL). In 2011 the co-leads for this effort in Florida in 2011 were the Florida Blue Foundation (FBF) and the Florida Center for Nursing (FCN).
The FL-AC was formed in February 2011. FL-AC invited state leaders both inside and outside nursing to participate, including elected officials, health industry executives, physicians and other health professionals, educators, philanthropists, AARP Florida and business leaders.
FL-AC Goals and Objectives
The IOM report’s 40-plus recommendations were condensed into eight primary recommendations for advancing nursing in the United States. These, in turn, have been assigned to one of four focus areas/pillars by the national “Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action”.
The priorities for Florida:
- Prepare and enable nurses to lead change to advance health.
- Increase the proportion of nurses with baccalaureate degree to 80% by 2020.
- Build an infrastructure for the collection/analysis of health care work force data.
- Assure that nurses practice to the full extent of their education and experience.
Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC)
The original Florida Action Coalition established an Education Action Team that created a regional pilot project to develop and implement successful resources to advance the IOM recommendations. The pilot project was called the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC), which has evolved into a standing coalition. It encompasses a four-county area: Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota.
SNAC was visioned and implemented by Jan Mauck, the former Chief Nursing Officer at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and Charles Baumann, a community member retired from Kerkering & Barberio Accounting Firm. They co-chair the coalition that has met regularly since 2013. The Patterson Foundation supports this collaboration by funding a consultant who provides facilitation and strategic guidance as the coalition works to create new health care realities in our region.
SNAC is designed to include health care employers (hospitals, nursing homes, and public health agencies), academics (organizations training nurses) and the community in a collaborative effort to address and achieve identified goals. Many strategies have been employed throughout the years to achieve SNAC’s mission, vision and strategic plan. These include the expansion of the regional educational system’s capacity for advanced education of nurses to achieve higher percentages of baccalaureate prepared nurses (BSNs) in the region.
The region was challenged by a lack of BSN programs and an assessment of needs was completed to chart the course for additional programs. As a result, academic institutions in the region have expanded the number of programs to achieve a BSN by adding or streamlining pathways for education. Keiser University added one traditional BSN program, and regional second-degree options were implemented by Keiser and the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee.
Other strategies included the development of a Tool Kit to guide organizations in successful approaches to increase BSN percentages and the implementation of the Nurse Education Navigator (NEN) role to guide potential or current students applying for nursing school or scholarships.
Community donors committed to SNAC’s mission provided scholarship funds to nurses seeking BSN and higher degrees with support of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County (CFSC). The CFSC serves as SNAC’s fiscal sponsor and administrative support for facilitating grants and donations. Through the successful implementation of these initiatives, the number and percentages of BSNs in the region are demonstrably increased.
Along the journey to improve the community’s healthcare, SNAC has communicated its mission and vision through numerous presentations and publications. These include Town Hall presentations, local news broadcasts, a white paper, local newspaper articles and presentations to the state coalition. They are available for viewing on the SNAC website under the “News” and “Resources” tabs.
SNAC has achieved recognition for its work at the state level. Jan Mauck was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Summit of the Florida Action Coalition in 2019 for her leadership and advocacy work advancing the Future of Nursing Campaign and specifically for “advancing education transformation” and her outstanding work and leadership of SNAC.
SNAC Future Plans
The initial IOM report has been updated with the release of “The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity”. Nine recommendations have been established to advance the overarching goal of achieving health equity in the United States built on strengthened nursing capacity and expertise.
This new report continues to support the goal of increased education for all registered nurses but also directs efforts to build the nursing workforce to assure health equity for all. Going forward, goals for 2020-2030 center on efforts to continue to strengthen nursing education and provide resources that also address nurse leadership, well-being, and emergency preparedness and response. The roles of nursing in acute care, community and public health as front-line health care providers and influencers and collaborators can impact the goal of achieving health equity for all.
While this newest report does not directly address the achievement of 80% baccalaureate prepared registered nurses (BSNs) by 2020, SNAC has determined that it will continue its focus of providing scholarships to increase the regional number of BSNs as a mission critical concern.