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Susan King, ONA Executive Director, Helps Shape The Future of Nursing

King participates in a panel discussion with former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala at Oregon Health and Sciences University

ONA's Susan King, RN, sits on the panel discussion. Tualatin, OR – National health care reform, an aging population, a looming nursing shortage, the growing role of advanced practice nurses, and new primary care delivery models; health care in the United States in on the verge of massive change, and nurses will play a central role in that future. According to the 2010 Institute of Medicine Report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, nurses’ responsibilities and education must change significantly to meet the increased and changing demands for health care that will result from a broad range of influences, including National health care reform legislation.

During a March 14, 2011 panel discussion, moderated by University of Miami President and former US Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, Oregon was identified as a model for the rest of the nation in advancing the role of nurses in the delivery of health care. According to Shalala, “Oregon is a national leader in utilizing advanced practice nurses in the delivery of primary care, and the rest of the nation should be looking to Oregon as a model for change.”

Susan King, RN, MS, Executive Director of the Oregon Nurses Association, was one of 11 panelists brought together to discuss the implications of the IOM report and potential barriers to implementation of the reports sweeping recommendations. King, who has been the Executive Director of ONA since 2004, has also been a passionate advocate for the role that Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurses Specialists and Nurse Anesthetists should play in the delivery of health care in the state, spoke directly to the centrality of nurses in the future of American health care.

“It was gratifying to hear Dr. Shalala talk about how much Oregon has done in to promote nursing and, in particular, advanced practice nurses, as a key part of our health care system’s future. Oregon truly does lead the nation in empowering nurses in their scope of practice and should act as a model for the rest of the nation,” said King.

During the 2 hour panel discussion, held at OHSU as part of the Nursing Schools’ Centennial Celebration, speakers explored a wide range of potential barriers to implementation of the IOM’s recommendations, but all recognized that the future of health care is truly in the hands of nurses.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala answers questions during a media event before the panel discussion. “Not only are nurses going to be at the center of health care delivery in this country, but nurses also need to be at the head of the table in the ongoing discussions about the best way to transform our nation’s health care system. Nurses are everywhere in our system and are uniquely qualified to advise the nation on how to improve the delivery of care. The IOM report directly supports this absolutely crucial role for nursing professionals,” said King.

ONA staff and leaders are exploring a wide range of advocacy, policy and practice approaches as means of ensuring that the recommendations of the report are implemented both here in Oregon and nationally.

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