It was “divine intervention” that I became a nurse. I was in high school when my guidance counselor approached me for an opportunity to participate in a co-op nurse’s aid program. That educational intervention opened a whole new world for me. I was amazed at what nurses did and the critical role they play in patient safety and care coordination. The nurse mentors I worked with recognized the importance of education and gave me the advice get a bachelor’s degree in nursing. There are several ways nurses can enter into practice and their advice to get my BSN as my first degree has always been appreciated. I later went to graduate school and received my master’s degree in nursing. Today, I love what I do and the talented team I work with at Elsevier to transform education and practice.
One of the biggest challenges today is that health care clinicians are behind the times in terms of technology and what it means for the best care possible. Today’s health care industry calls for nurses to coordinate care across the continuum, to work collaboratively in teams, and to use evidence and technology at the point of care. As the entire health system is undergoing transformation with the focus on electronic health records and health care reform, it is even more critical that nursing and other health professions transform their curriculums to integrate evidence, technology, and interprofessional learning experiences.
I have learned that not only can we embrace education, but we can transform education, if we seize opportunities, stay mission-focused, and collaborate with others. A great example of this is the Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER) Initiative that started out as a grassroots effort to prepare the nursing workforce for the 21st century. Through the TIGER Initiative efforts, nursing education curriculums have adopted informatics competencies, faculty has been given information and tools to advance their own knowledge, and the bridge between education and practice is beginning to close. TIGER is now focused on creating a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and engaging all disciplines and consumers to improve health care. The next big wave in health care is creating health care education curriculums that embrace Interprofessional Education (IPE) to change the siloed health care delivery systems into integrated health systems where coordinated, collaborative, and team-based practice provides new national norms.