On Tuesday, March 3, 2009, seven students and I travelled to Madison for the Wisconsin Nurses’ Association Spring Conference at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. National Nurse Association leaders shared their insights into and predictions for the future of healthcare and the state of nursing. Although experts agree that a completely nationalized system is unlikely in this country, steps must be taken immediately to assure health care for the millions of Americans who are uninsured or underinsured. This includes many who are working but who have inadequate health insurance coverage. The profession of nursing is at the forefront of this with its ability to provide holistic, responsible and cost-effective care at a time when some partners in the health care industry seem to be paying more attention to profits than to people.
Nursing education in Wisconsin is undergoing changes, too. As with our colleagues around the country, nurses in Wisconsin will be encouraged to obtain the BSN degree within 10 years of becoming licensed as a registered nurse. The state of California is legislating this directive, but it is still voluntary in Wisconsin. This simply reflects the long-held recognition that nursing is a highly-specialized professional role which requires the sophistication of the baccalaureate graduate at the minimum.
A special note of appreciation to WLC Student Nurse Association president, Kristen Luebbe, who coordinated the trip. Along with Kristen, others who attended included: Melissa Krug, Leslie Ramirez, Allison Page, Samantha Lemke, Amber Marshall and Brianna Stein.