The REAL tipping point

"A number of factors are driving the explosion in convenient care…." That's what a May 4 article, "Retail clinics at tipping point," on the website ModernHealthcare.com had to say about the growth of retail clinics, and the role the model can be expected to play as healthcare reform hits full stride.

The timing was impeccable — the story appeared just one week before our annual Retail Clinician Education Congress, a live continuing education and leadership event, now in its sixth year, that DSN co-hosts with the Convenient Care Association.

But if you are looking for a real tipping point, you will look at how a profession addresses the challenges of training the next-generation work force — that will tell you a lot about what the future is going to look like.

DSN got its first peak over that mountain at RCEC last month during a special closed-door, roundtable discussion of nursing practice and education leaders coordinated by the National League of Nursing in conjunction with the CCA. The goal: to structure transformative strategies in nursing education and training to meet the increased needs for more advanced practice nurses to staff new models of healthcare delivery, such as retail clinics.

CCA executive director Tine Hansen-Turton described the meeting as transformative, bringing together, "the industry, nursing leaders and the universities to strategize around how we build a work force that is trained and educated for this model of care."

"This is a historic endeavor and a level of collaboration that is unheard of," said Beverly Malone, CEO of the National League of Nursing, who moderated the May 15 discussion. "It is all about how do we take education and hook it and bridge it to practice to make sure we are serving the needs of the community and the patients."

"I believe this is a historic meeting," Angela Patterson, chief nurse practitioner officer for CVS Caremark's MinuteClinic, told DSN. "Bringing two major groups of nursing leaders together who care deeply about transforming nursing education in support of advancing our nation's health is an exciting opportunity for our profession."

Sandy Ryan, chief nurse practitioner officer and clinical advocate for Walgreens' Take Care Health Systems, added, "as we look to transform the delivery of health care, we need to think differently and transform clinical education to meet the needs of patients nationally … to strategize ways to increase the number of advanced practice nurses."

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