first forum on the future of nursing that focused on acute care, “the future is here, it’s just not everywhere.”
One of the most pressing challenges facing the nursing profession is how to prepare nurses who can be responsive to emerging health care needs and practice in the rapidly changing health care environment, given that the capacity of the education system is limited by faculty shortages and lack of clinical training sites, Tanner said. The state of Oregon has taken an innovative approach to nursing education by not focusing exclusively on the degrees that nurses should earn, Tanner noted. Instead, the state has framed its improvement efforts in nursing education around the competencies that nurses need to practice effectively and the capacity required to educate these nurses. To achieve these overlapping goals, the Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education (OCNE) was established in 2001. The consortium consists of eight community colleges and five campuses of OHSU.
To establish a common education base, the consortium faculty created a shared nursing curriculum that is used on all participating community college and OHSU campuses. The curriculum redefines the fundamentals of nursing to reflect health promotion, evidence-based practice, clinical judgment, relationship-centered care, and leadership. The competencies that are integrated into the curriculum were identified based on an analysis of emerging health care needs and alternative scenarios of how the practice of nursing could change to address those needs. For example, the curriculum includes two courses in the management of chronic illnesses, reflecting the changing demographics of Americans and the need to help students gain competencies in those areas. The curriculum also has an integrative practicum that was developed to provide a better transition to practice for nursing students.
When accepted into the OCNE program, students are co-admitted into both the associate and baccalaureate degree programs. This provides a seamless transition for students who start the program in a community college and move into the baccalaureate program at the university. “We