"This is a decade of the nurse; opportunity for the nurse is greater than it has ever been,” keynote speaker Roxane B. Spitzer ’60.

By Anustha Shrestha

“This is a decade of the nurse; opportunity for the nurse is greater than it has ever been,” keynote speaker Roxane B. Spitzer ’60, Ph.D., M.B.A, R.N., FAAN, told attendees at the ninth annual Nursing Leadership Conference on April 5.

Dr. Spitzer, who is semi-retired from her post as CEO of the Metropolitan Nashville Hospital Authority, outlined some of the significant game-changing events and technological advances that have transformed nursing sector and potential strategies that can further spur positive changes. Everybody in the room can become a game changer, irrespective of the stage of their career, she added during her address, “Professional Practice: The Real Game Changer,” which headlined the event hosted by Adelphi’s School of Nursing and the Alpha Omega Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing.

Amid such transformative events as the Federal EMR (Electronic Medical Records) Mandate, which has already reformed the nursing sector significantly, there are still areas that need to be taken care of—policies such as the Affordable Care Act, new infrastructures and population-based management. Dr. Spitzer called for more partnerships between physicians and nurse practitioners and advocated for a more patient-centered approach than a task-oriented one. “We have separated, in the medical field, pieces of the body out from the whole person. Thank God, the advanced nurse practitioners do take care of a holistic patient,” she said. “ I’d rather see an advanced nurse practitioner than anybody today.”

Dr. Spitzer emphasized the need for professional nurses who understand their roles and who can monitor their own practice and be accountable for the quality and outcome they have produced. She took great pride in the fact that for the past seven or eight years, nursing has been named one of the most trusted professions in the United States.

She indirectly referenced the conference’s overall theme, “Transforming Patient Care: It’s up to You: Be a Game Changer,” when she emphasized that nurses should be self-directed, autonomous, evidence-based, result-oriented and ethical. Being a  true professional also entails “transferring the knowledge…both in your daily practice with your patient and with the other members of your healthcare team, but also when you hand over that patient on a shift change,” she said.

Dr. Spitzer explained that apart from medical needs, nursing also involves considering socio-environmental factors and catering to emotional needs of the patients. “I believe, from what I’ve seen, that stress can cause more physical illness than almost anything else,” she said.

Dr. Spitzer believes that a partnership among nursing leaders from management, education and practice to provide necessary coaching is important for nurses to “have a chance at greatness, real greatness.”

The event took place in the Ruth S. Harley University Center’s Thomas Dixon Lovely Ballroom.

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