Recently, the National Nursing Centers Consortium, the nonprofit organization supporting nurse-led care as a quality health care solution, changed its name to the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium (NNCC). After thoughtful consideration of NNCC’s history and core values, we chose this new name to better reflect our continuous work and vision for the future.
The NNCC Board of Directors worked closely with our leadership team in reaching the decision to change our name, reflecting deeply on our organization and how far the movement for nurse-led care has come. More than 20 years ago, when I was working for the Philadelphia Housing Authority, I met a group of advanced practice nurses who were working together to provide health care in places where no other health care providers worked. That work motivated us to embed a nurse-led health clinic in a public housing development to meet the health needs of residents where they lived. That single clinic evolved into the Family Practice & Counseling Network, and it is just one example of nursing entrepreneurship improving peoples’ health and well-being.
Driven Nurses Provide Quality Care
The profound impact of these innovative models of care delivery, driven by advanced practice nurses, can be seen across the nation. In Johnson City, Tennessee, the East Tennessee State University College of Nursing first established a nurse-led clinic in a donated room of a Salvation Army post and now serves more than 35,000 residents a year through public housing, homeless, and school-based clinics. Homebound elders in Lubbock, Texas receive nurse-led behavioral, primary care and community-based services, through the Senior Health Calls program of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing. And the homeless population residing in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco depend on nurse-led services, particularly support for issues related to addiction and disability. From our roots in an apartment complex in Philadelphia to a regional consortium, NNCC has grown to become a national organization representing more than 250 nurse-managed clinics, now serving more than three million patients.
Our new name reflects the changing nature of nurse-led care, which need not be limited to clinical settings, and the continued development of nurse-led models of practice. While our name has changed, our commitment to advance nurse-led health care through policy, consultation and programs to reduce health disparities and meet people’s primary care and wellness needs remains stronger than ever.
Rewarding Health Improvements
Since the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the health care industry has become unified in its focus on creating value and rewarding improvements in health outcomes and quality of care. Health, business, academic and policy leaders throughout the nation and the world are beginning to recognize what nurses have always known: nurses’ clinical and care coordination skills, combined with the holistic, patient-centered approach that is central to the nursing model of care, make them especially well-suited to lead value-focused initiatives that are based on evidence and responsive to community needs.
Never in our history has there been more opportunity for advanced practice nurses and nurse-led care. RAND projects that the number of trained nurse practitioners will increase by 94% by the year 2025. The Bureau of Labor Statistics likewise predicts an increase in the supply of advanced practice nurses (including nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives as well as nurse practitioners) of 31% between 2012 and 2022. At the same time, school-based health clinics and retail-based health clinics have experienced explosive growth. The number of school-based health clinics has increased by as much as 20% annually in recent years, and the retail clinic industry has grown to than 2,000 retail clinics in the U.S., serving more than 20 million patients annually. The vast majority of these health clinics are run by nurses.
Emphasis on Quality
NNCC’s new name comes on the heels of our organization being named a founding partner in the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI), the first federally funded national quality improvement initiative to explicitly include nurse practitioners. Together with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), NNCC has established the Nurse Practitioner Support and Alignment Network (NP SAN), which will provide nurse practitioners with resources to transform their practices, increase quality improvement capacity and transition to value-based payment structures.
For nearly two decades, NNCC has played an instrumental role in expanding access to affordable and high-quality health care by championing nurse-led innovations. We have worked with our members, colleagues and partners to educate policy makers and the public on the importance of expanding scope of practice for nurse practitioners. We have developed evidence-based best practices and supported hundreds of nurse leaders in establishing and sustaining community clinics. Together with our partners, NNCC will continue to push forward and support the work of nurse innovators throughout the country and the world. As the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium, we look forward to working in the same spirit of advancing nurse-led care to improve the health of people everywhere.
Tine Hansen-Turton is Chief Executive Officer, National Nurse-Led Care Consortium.