Nurses can make a huge impact in all healthcare settings

Nurses play a key role in "solving the public policy puzzle that is health and healthcare," a healthcare policy advocate wrote in The Hill's Congress Blog--and they don't have to be in a hospital or a doctor's office to make a huge impact.

Relying more heavily on nurses is an "underappreciated" way to improve people's health while keeping costs down, according to Maryjoan D. Ladden, Ph.D., R.N., senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and executive editor of the Charting Nursing's Future series.

She noted that nurses help develop workplace health and safety programs, even in office settings. In addition to minimizing workplace hazards, nurses can broaden their approach to promote overall health and fitness, along with providing evidence-based primary care at worksite clinics, she wrote.

School nurses' roles also are broader than they used to be, according to Ladden. Increasingly, they focus on "seeing that children have a healthy environment in which to learn--one where nutritious food, opportunities to exercise, and safe places to play are readily available," according to the blog post.

Ladden also cited "nurse-powered initiatives" in which nurses reach out into the community to help underserved populations get health insurance, and help change conditions to reduce emergency department visits by infants and adults.

"Across the nation, nurses are joining with other clinicians and public health officials, and working in cross-sector collaborations with city planners, social workers, educators, and others to build a Culture of Health that helps people avoid illness and injury," she said.

In a hospital environment, involving nurses in care-delivery decisions can lead to better quality of care, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Hospitals can improve quality by providing nurses with a positive working environment and the support they need to perform their jobs, research shows.

Hospital designers also are seek out nurses for their expertise in evidence-based practice, which in turn is guiding evidence-based hospital design.

To learn more:
- read the blog post