What Should We Teach the Nurse of the Future?
Over at RWJF's Future of Nursing blog, Dean Marla Salmon, from the University of Washington School of Nursing poses the question, what do we need to teach the nurse of tomorrow? This is a pretty important question, and one we have discussed frequently here at the sustainability project. Because one of the struggles we so often see in SANE programs around the country are nurses who have never had access to education focused on business management, leadership development or public policy. These are all critical areas that impact the day to day lives of SANE programs. A lack of these skills (or a failure to even see this skills as being relevant and necessary) makes it difficult to keep SANE programs healthy and viable for the long-term.
I don't think every SANE program manager needs an MBA (although it wouldn't hurt to have a few more in our ranks), nor do I think we should be shifting foundational nursing education away from the clinical skills that are so central to the profession. But I agree with Dean Salmon when she writes, "A good start would be strengthening the connection between initial, graduate and continuing education. These linkages are not well defined - nor are resources that are now separately associated with each. Perhaps we should think about the possibility of a lifelong learning "curriculum" or some sort of career development framework as a way of shaping some new conversations about education and learning. This could engage both our educational and service institutions in supportive and coordinated ways." An expectation that continuing education is not only part of the career path, but occurs in a purposeful and organized fashion? Continuing education tailored toward professional growth and development, and not just randomly chosen as a means for maintaining certifications or satisfying agency policies? Yes, please. It would certainly strengthen our specialty.
I am working on crafting a response to Dean Salmon's post. I hope some of you will also consider weighing in on what we should teach the future nurse. It's a great opportunity to give some feedback to an organization that has definite influence on the future of nursing.