As nurses pursue advanced learning and take on greater clinical and administrative responsibilities, many are making strides toward practicing independently. In Michigan, pending legislation would extend autonomy to advanced practice nurses.
While there were only 20 programs offering doctor of nursing practice degrees in 2006, the number grew to 184 last year. And an additional 101 programs are in the planning stages, according to data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Taking its cue from the Institute of Medicine's landmark Future of Nursing report, UnitedHealth will pay for 30 registered nurses to get their master's degrees and learn how to be educators themselves.
Patient deaths at VA hospitals in Denver and New York City, as well as an overall indictment of nurse competency and processes at Veterans Health Administration facilities in general, are reminders of the critical need for not only training—but retraining—nurses.