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RNs with ADN degrees get national representation
Donna Meyer supports ADN contributions and academic progression
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By Lisette Hilton
EDITOR'S NOTE: Lisette Hilton is a freelance writer.
We spoke with Meyer, the first CEO from the OADN to be represented on the council, about what the NACNEP appointment might mean for associate degree nursing and short- and long-term goals for the profession.
A. The advisory council wants to hear from all voices in nursing. I’ve always been the type of individual who can see things from many sides. So, even though I totally support the associate degree education pathway because it’s so important to the healthcare of our country, I am also very open-minded about the importance of academic progression and lifelong learning. However, all members must be global in their thinking and not only represent one area of thought. We must consider practice, education, policy, regulation and many other factors. My NACNEP appointment is until 2022. Each year the council, as a group, reviews the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Health Resources and Services Administration priorities and then decides on an important topic to discuss that is in alignment with the priorities. The next NACNEP report to Congress is due December 31. We’re working on value-based care for this year, the importance of how nurses fit into the value-based care system and the value of nursing in the healthcare system. This is very important as the country moves from a fee-based healthcare system to value-based care. I want to ensure the voice of associate degree nursing education and the importance of this pathway is represented, and its impact on our country’s healthcare. For example, population health and the social determinants of health are major focus areas in the healthcare arena today. Some people think that associate degree graduates haven’t had much education in population health. But that’s not true. Population health is part of the curriculum. “Population health: A Vision for Nursing Education” is the theme for the 2018 Organization for Associate Degree Nursing Convention. Many associate degree nursing educators will be presenting the integration of population health in the curriculum.
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Q. Why is it important to have someone on the advisory council who represents associate degree nurses?
Q. In what areas are you advocating for associate degree nursing?
A. Aside from my work on this advisory committee, I’m part of the leadership team for the National Education Progression in Nursing Collaborative. NEPIN is new, but the work broadens and builds on the previous work of the APIN (Academic Progression in Nursing) initiative, a grant-funded effort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that concluded in June 2017. APIN work was a direct result of the IOM’s 2010 Future of Nursing report.   NEPIN advocates for lifelong learning. This means that nurses continue to obtain their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. We are confronted with a major faculty shortage. If people don’t continue their education to a minimum of the master’s degree and beyond, the faculty shortage will have a direct impact on nursing program enrollments and ultimately the nursing workforce. We advocate for academic progression by looking at new models for nursing education and ensuring associate degree nurse graduates continue their education. Universities and community colleges are developing pathways for an easier transition of the associate degree nursing graduate.
Associate degree nursing now has a seat at the table for the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice. The Organization for Associate Degree Nursing’s CEO Donna Meyer, MSN, RN, ANEF, FAADN, was appointed earlier this year to the federal council, which advises the administration and Congress about healthcare policy related to the nursing workforce, nursing education and practice improvement.
A. Yes, but we’re not going to meet that goal by 2020. The National Education Progression in Nursing Collaborative set the goal that 90% of current ADN students (not graduates but people enrolled) will have pursued their baccalaureate degree or beyond by 2025.
A. Some are, and obviously some have preferential hiring for BSNs. I think the solution is to have a good mix of nurses for employment. One of the things about associate degree graduates is they often stay in the community they were educated in and definitely can impact the healthcare of the community. Community colleges and associate degree programs across this country are embedded in the community. Associate degree nurses understand their communities. Who is better to address the concerns about population health in those communities than the nurses who actually live and are educated there?
Q. Do you think healthcare workplace cultures are supportive of ADNs?
Q. Do you agree with the IOM’s recommendation to have 80% baccalaureate educated nurses by 2020?
A. The work on academic progression is imperative and we need numerous innovative pathways for students to complete their educations. We also are working on making sure that more associate degree programs become accredited by a Department of Education recognized nursing accrediting agency. All programs are approved by their respective state Board of Nursing. However, accreditation is essential as an additional sign of quality and is also important as it relates to academic progression. We really need to talk about lifelong learning. For our association, we want to turn the discussion to academic progression and lifelong learning. I think if we can collaborate on that and put the issue of entry into the practice aside and work together, we can move forward.
Q. Could you comment on your short- and long-term goals for associate degree nursing?
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