It takes a team to run a hospital. But if you ask a patient who they interacted with the most, they’ll probably say a nurse. Nurses are on the front lines of medical care in hospitals, health clinics, schools, assisted living facilities and home health care. They are often the voice of the patient. Today, I had the opportunity to be with nursing leaders from across the nation at the annual meeting of the American Organization of Nurse Executives in Baltimore. It was a chance to talk about the nursing profession’s past – this year AONE celebrates its 50th anniversary – and its future. Thanks to our nurse leaders, today’s nurses have a dramatically expanded role in health care compared to five decades ago. They undergo years of education and training, and make many complex medical decisions on behalf of their patients. They are essential to the delivery of quality health care. Nursing leaders are also an important part of the AHA. AONE is a key part of the AHA family – and AONE’s members are among the AHA’s strongest supporters in our grassroots advocacy efforts and significant contributors to AHAPAC. We couldn’t do the work we do to speak for America’s hospitals and tell their stories without nurse leaders. We simply can’t meet the challenges that face our field unless nurses, along with other health professionals, are full partners in redesigning the delivery of health care. They play a vital role in advancing health in America.

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