Nurses in northeast Tennessee working toward IOM recommendations for many years.
Subject: Nurses (Practice)
Nursing education (Management)
Pub Date: 03/22/2012
Publication: Name: Tennessee Nurse Publisher: Tennessee Nurses Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 Tennessee Nurses Association ISSN: 1055-3134
Issue: Date: Spring, 2012 Source Volume: 75 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics Computer Subject: Company business management
Product: Product Code: 8043100 Nurses NAICS Code: 621399 Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners
Organization: Organization: Institute of Medicine
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Tennessee Geographic Code: 1U6TN Tennessee
Accession Number: 283984744
Full Text: The Institute of Medicine's (IOM) seminal report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health in 2010, addressed recommendations that included increasing the number of baccalaureate and doctoral nursing graduates; allowing advanced practice nurses to practice to the upper limit of their education; allowing nurses to be interprofessional, collaborative leaders; implementing nurse residency programs; providing opportunities for life-long learning; and enabling nurses to assume leadership positions in which the outcome is advancing health and healthcare. In October 2011, prior to the annual Tennessee Nurses Association convention, a preconference was held to discuss this report, the implications of the recommendations for Tennessee, the preliminary findings of a statewide survey on the educational recommendations (results to be published shortly), and the activities in place and/or planned to occur across the state. The nurses of northeast Tennessee have been working on these recommendations prior to this report and continue to do so since the report. This article will review these efforts.

In the final months of 2004, the deans or directors of four northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia colleges (East Tennessee State University, King College, Milligan College, and Walters State Community College), seven core healthcare facilities (Wellmont Health System, Mountain States Health Alliance, Mountain Home VA Medical Center, Takoma Regional Hospital, Laughlin Memorial Hospital, Unicoi County Memorial Hospital, and Frontier Health/Woodridge Hospital), and five affiliate hospitals and nursing programs from the same regional area plus western North Carolina (Johnston Memorial Hospital, Tennessee Tech of Elizabethton, Tennessee Tech of Morristown, Caldwell Community College of North Carolina, and Virginia Appalachian TriCollege of Nursing) joined together to form the Appalachian Consortium for Nursing Education and Practice (ACNEP). The original objectives of this group were to facilitate nursing clinical training sites, form a network of communication among schools and healthcare agencies, and to graduate and hire a sufficient number of nurses to meet the workload needs of the region. There have been some changes in membership, such as the addition of Northeast State Community College and our newest member, Tusculum College, but the membership has remained stable. Across time, our goals continue to be the same as they were originally, but additional goals have been added as current issues, needs, and priorities arise. These additions have primarily addressed changes to or additional policies from the state or health care system. The initial efforts of this group were highlighted in a poster session at the Southern Regional Education Board annual meeting.

One of the first activities of this group was to submit a grant to purchase a pediatric high-fidelity simulator for use among the schools and to provide a program of education and training using the simulator. This original grant was not funded, but the second grant was funded and provided funding for education and training.

The second project that was undertaken by the group was the development of a process to identify and schedule clinical sites among the area health care agencies for area nursing programs which resulted in the formation of the ACNEP Clinical Scheduling Committee comprised of nursing clinical faculty from area schools of nursing from northeast Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and western North Carolina. The Clinical Scheduling Committee meets face to face one time per semester to schedule clinical placements for the immediate following semester. The face to face meetings allow negotiation for and sharing of clinical units that was not previously possible when placements were granted by local health care agencies upon request by the schools.

Initially, placements were documented and maintained on excel spreadsheets by the committee chair with copies provided to the clinical agencies. In a cooperative effort between Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health Systems to support the committee's work, a scheduling software package was purchased allowing committee members to enter their school's placements following each meeting of the committee. Use of the scheduling software added the ability of individual clinical units to see the school placements and plan accordingly for providing practice opportunities for nursing students. The ongoing work of the Clinical Scheduling Committee continues to yield expanded clinical time and placement opportunities for regional nursing students through the dialogue and problem solving efforts of the members that they believe can only be maximized through face to face meetings.

In September 2011, the members of ACNEP identified the need to provide nursing students additional information on professionalism and the current requirements and expectations from future healthcare employers. A task force was organized under the leadership of Melessia Webb, Dean of Nursing at Northeast State, to offer the first regional workshop for nursing students with an attendance of 880 participants. The title of this offering was The Journey to Professionalism - Collaboration between "Education and Practice." Donna Caum from the Tennessee Professional Assistance Program spoke on Safe, Ethical, and Professional Practice. She was followed by Martha Barr from the Tennessee Board of Nursing who spoke on Regulation for Nursing Practice. Next, Elizabeth Smith, an American Nurses' Association member and delegate, spoke on the Importance of Being Politically Active, and the program ended with a panel of health care nursing administrators and new graduates who spoke about the transition to work as a nurse. It is expected that this workshop will be repeated on an every other year basis. Student feedback was very positive. This allowed students from different nursing programs an opportunity to collaborate.

Currently, the members of ACNEP are completing the development of a recruitment brochure for area junior and senior high school students who are interested in nursing as a career. This brochure includes information on the profession of nursing in general, but also specific information on area nursing schools and healthcare agencies. Individuals wishing to become nurses can attend nursing programs across the region from LPN through doctoral education that provide a full array of educational options which also include articulation and dual degree options between the community colleges and universities. Employment opportunities for nurses are also varied and comprehensive. In other words, one can acquire education to become a nurse at any level and can work in almost any specialty in the region that ACNEP serves. In addition, a number of other recruitment items, such as t-shirts and pens, will be a part of this campaign.

Across the years, ACNEP has met three to four times per year. One consistent part of our meetings is the discussion of policies that affect all of us and sharing information from our individual sites. Some of the policies that have been discussed are clinical health requirements, criminal background checks, and clinical placement. We have also discussed the need to have a consistent message to our area legislators on such topics as the recommendations from the IOM report, the roles and responsibilities of advanced practice registered nurses, and the contributions that nurses have made in our region.

We believe that much more can be accomplished when we all work together as opposed to individually. It is this belief that has allowed ACNEP to achieve those things that we set out to meet. Perhaps of most value are the relationships that we have made and strengthened over the years. We will continue to address the recommendations of the IOM report, but also to deliver graduates and products that advance the health and healthcare of our region.

* Current members of ACNEP include: Wendy Nehring, East Tennessee State University; Linda McConnell, Deborah Bailey, Benita Barker, Teresa England, and Linda Null, James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Center; Joanne Quinn, King College; Melinda Collins, Milligan College; Pat Niday, Kathryn Wilhoit, Jessica Denney, Susan Fannon, Libby Flippo, Kim Kelley, and Karen Snyder, Mountain States Health Alliance; Melessia Webb, Northeast State Community College; Terri Blevins, Tennessee Technology Center at Elizabethton; Lois Ewen and Nancy Moody, Tusculum College; Kathy Mitchell, Virginia Appalachian Tricollege Nursing Program; Marty Rucker and Cheryl McCall, Walters State Community College; and Terri Marcum and Penny Miller, Wellmont Health Systems.

by Appalachian Consortium for Nursing Education and Practice (ACNEP)
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