Ep 69 – The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity, with Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN and Janelle Sokolowich, PhD, RN

In this week’s episode, we spotlight the recently released Future of Nursing report, “Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity.” The report is a landmark consensus study supported by the National Academy of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It charts a 10-year path for the nursing profession, to help our nation create a culture of health, reduce health disparities, and improve the health and wellbeing of the US population in the 21st century.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed serious inequities in the nation’s healthcare system, with frontline healthcare workers often lacking the necessary PPE and other equipment to safely and effectively do their jobs, and the murder of George Floyd shined a spotlight on the structural racism that exists in the workplace and society at large. In the wake of these challenges, the Future of Nursing report provides us with a north star to guide the nursing profession over the next 10 years, with a particular focus on reducing health inequities and improving health outcomes in value-based care.

Our guests are both important thought leaders in nursing. Dr. Susan Hassmiller is the Senior Advisor for Nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Senior Scholar in Residence for the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Janelle Sokolowich is the academic Vice President and Dean for the College of Health Professions at Western Governors University. Their voices are united in sharing this important message: nurses are key to health, healthcare, and the future success of our healthcare industry, and educational programs that provide equity in access and learning will ensure our nursing workforce has both the cultural humility and clinical competence to address the needs for greater health equity and diversity.

Episode Bookmarks:

01:40 Introduction to the “Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity

04:40 The need for diversity in the nursing workforce and how to eliminate bias in teaching and learning

06:55 Historical contrasting between stories of Florence Nightingale and Lillian Wald with occurrences of racism in nursing (e.g. Black Angels)

07:20 Recognizing bias in nursing curriculum through population exclusion (e.g. transgender), stereotypes, colloquialisms, and standardized testing

09:00 The lack of training with nursing faculty on how to have uncomfortable, yet crucial, conversations on race and health equity

10:00 The importance of diversity and cultivating inclusive learning environments

11:00 Holistic recruiting and competency-based learning as an opportunity equalizer for students of color

11:30 “Health equity is our end goal, but in order to even achieve that, we have to create pathways to education.”

12:50 The “Diversity Tax” – dependence on faculty of color to do all of the mentoring for underrepresented minority students

14:20 Raising awareness for health inequities to bring about industry-level commitment to SDOH and health equity

15:20 The importance of holistic admissions, diversity, and cultural humility to build models for culturally-competent care

16:20 “Our goal as educators is to empower our students to have cultural currency in their communication so that they can provide competent care that is enhanced and enlaced with humility.”

17:00 The need for kindness and patience for others to elevate crucial conversations

20:00 Competency-based education in nursing as an opportunity to increase diversity in the workforce and improve health equity for populations

22:00 “Competency-based education is a promising way to integrate equity, social determinants of health, and population health into the nursing curricula all at one time.”

24:00 Confronting Institutional Racism in Nursing Practice and the need for more open conversations to overcome health inequities

25:00 “Inequities in this country lead to very poor outcomes. We spend trillions of dollars on healthcare, and we still have the worst outcomes of all other countries because of these inequities.”

29:00 Drs. Hassmiller and Sokolowich discuss powerful examples of institutional racism in healthcare and why we must use them in open conversations

33:00 Social and Emotional Learning as an opportunity to support nurse wellbeing by helping them integrate their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors

37:30 The need to increase the number of nurses from underrepresented groups in leadership positions in practice and in academia

41:40 The need for more structure in providing mentorship and leadership programs for the nursing programs

43:30 The imperative that the nursing profession must unite and work and pursue interprofessional collaborations to solve problems in health equity

48:00 Drs. Hassmiller and Sokolowich discuss the current challenges with nurse understaffing and how we should improve the environment of care to better support nurse wellbeing

53:00 Drs. Hassmiller and Sokolowich how the nursing profession should prepare to lead the inevitable transition to value-based care

60:00 “If we overcome institutional barriers and allow nurses to practice to the top of their education, more value-based care would be at hand for us.”

62:00 The societal need to value nurses much more than they are today and considerations for how to align compensation and incentives to recognize that value.

64:00 Parting thoughts on nurses can improve patient care outcomes and health literacy within value-based care models