The California Association of Colleges of Nursing Spring Conference occurred the week of March 7-8, 2019, at the Embassy Suites in Sacramento. The Spring Conference is designed to assist both emerging academic leaders and seasoned deans to find the power of their collective voices in planning and creating a new future for nursing education and practice.
Dr. Annette Callis, Dr. Kathy Tong, and Dr, Mary Wickman attended the conference to learn more about the current political environment and legislative bills that impact us as nurse educators and leaders, and to network with our peers throughout the state of California.
In preparation for afternoon visits to the Capitol, BJ Bartleson, VP of Nursing and Clinical Services of the CA Hospital Association, led a Thursday session titled “Preparation for Legislative Visits” that focused on the current political climate related to healthcare, assembly bills vital to nursing practice and education, as well as ways to utilize our platform as nurse leaders to inform elected officials about nursing.
We learned ways on how our stories and experiences as nurses and nurse educators can bring clarity and understanding to our elected officials about the ways current and upcoming assembly bills could impact nursing practice, nursing education, and population health.
Attendees were scheduled to meet with legislative members and conducted those visits in the afternoon of conference day one. Debriefing and other presentations were scheduled on day two. For example, an invited national-level expert, Dr. Nancy Blake, presented on Lateral and Horizontal Violence on Friday.
A legislative bill of focus at the conference was AB 890. This bill is supported by the California Association for Nurse Practitioners (CANP) and will allow Nurse Practitioners (NPs) authority to practice to the full extent of their education and training, in order to ensure direct access to the health care delivery system. Key facts related to this bill include the following compelling trends in healthcare (provided by Karen Bradley, President, CANP)
- There is a shortage of healthcare providers locally and nationally. Millions of Californians who now have access to coverage, often struggle to find health care providers.
- The California Health Workforce Commission’s final report (February 2019) recommended that California reform scope of practice regulations to give NPs full practice authority.
- Research demonstrates that the quality of NP care is comparable to that of physician care, and that there is no difference in quality when there are no physician oversight requirements.
- Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia allow NPs to diagnose, treat patients, and prescribe medications without a physician’s supervision.
- Almost 80 percent of NPs in the U.S. – 204,000 out of 262,000 – practice primary care, compared to 33 percent of physicians (Health Affairs – online September 4, 2018).
The meeting concluded with a formulation of CACN’s role in collaborating with our colleagues in professional organizations such as ACNL, ANA\C, COADN and other key health care leaders, as we continue to address and work to resolve issues surrounding scope of practice and authority for APRNs, ADN to BSN seamless transition and completion, and clinical agency alliances.
It was clear to attendees that as a united front, nurses have a stronger platform and voice in leading health care change and reform.