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LAC holds regional forum in Kenner

At a regional nursing forum hosted by the Louisiana Action Coalition (LAC), New Orleans area nurses came together to discuss challenges facing the nursing profession and ways to overcome those challenges.

On April 16 in Kenner, LA, approximately 100 nurses, nursing students, nurse educators and nurse champions attended The Future of Nursing in Southeast Louisiana. Through a series of presentations and discussions, the LAC aimed to inform participants about the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action and about progress being made to implement the recommendations contained in the 2010 Institute of Medicine Report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Nurse education, nurse leadership and nursing practice were the forum’s key topics of discussion.

During the program, Cynthia Bienemy, PhD, RN, director of the Louisiana Center for Nursing and Louisiana Action Coalition co-lead, gave a presentation about Louisiana’s nursing workforce. Information gathered and analyzed through a forecasting model shows a shortage of nurses in the New Orleans area through 2020. Forum participants talked about the need to recruit more men and ethnic minorities into the nursing profession.

“We need to begin our recruiting earlier than high school,” said Cheryl Myers, RN, spokesperson for the forum’s education breakout discussion group. “We need male nurses involved in that recruiting process, and we need to develop innovative programs to inspire young people to choose nursing.”

A leadership breakout group discussed mentorship of young nurses and ways to develop nurse leaders. “Nursing is different today than it was when some of us began our careers,” said Joan Rooney, RN, facilitator of the group. “We should be empowering young nurses, mentoring them and making them feel valued.”

All three breakout groups cited mentoring as one of the most essential ingredients in furthering the nursing profession.

One final comment shared by the leadership group was, “Nurses are to health care what water is to the body. We are essential.”

This is the third regional forum held by the Louisiana Action Coalition. Forums in the Acadiana and central Louisiana regions were held in November 2013 and March 2014, and forums in Shreveport and Lake Charles are being planned for later this year.

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