The Top 10 Nursing Priorities

New book delves into 10 key nursing issues and their solutions

Nurses face many obstacles, and many feel stymied about the profession’s forward progress on a number of significant issues. They see this as a time of great opportunity to make a difference and improve the health of everyone in America. Now, a new book explains how nurses can tackle the tough challenges and change the world--together.

“There are 3.6 million of us in the United States and with all of the nurses around the world, if we just take one thing that ignites our passion and work towards it, we will accomplish our goals and move the profession forward,” said Jennifer S. Mensik, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, co-author of The Power of Ten, 2nd Edition: A Conversational Approach to Tackling the Top Ten Priorities in Nursing, published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.

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Mensik and co-author Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, recently surveyed more than 50 national and international nurse leaders, asking about the most pressing issues in the nursing profession today. The resulting list of the top 10 priorities formed the basis for The Power of Ten

With the rapid changes occurring in health care, the current survey created a new set of priorities for nurses to work on.

The top 10 priorities in nursing were identified as:
     •    Educational reform
     •    Academic progression
     •    Diversity
     •    Interprofessional collaboration
     •    Systems thinking
     •    Voice of nursing
     •    Global stewardship
     •    Practice authority
     •    Delivery of care
     •    Professional handoff/care transitions

The authors selected a diversified set of experienced and younger leaders to write essays in their focus areas of expertise, discussing what must be done within each priority to make progress in nursing. For instance, Marilyn Chow, PhD, RN, FAAN, vice president of national patient care services and innovation at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, writes about reimagining nursing education from the service point of view, and Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, pens an essay about diversity and meaningful inclusion. 

In addition to the essays, about 40 nurses joined the discussion of each theme. Barbara F. Brandt, PhD, director of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education and an associate vice president for education at the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center in Minneapolis, talks about practicing and teams and putting patients and families first. Cheryl Hoying, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN, senior vice president of patient services at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center in Ohio, calls such collaboration a “critical component of delivering safe, quality care.”

“No matter where you are in the world, or what position you are, these [nurses] are influential, not only across settings, but internationally,” Mensik explains. 

The priorities for nurses focus on staffing, mandatory overtime, bullying and work environments. 

“We were trying to make this a broader, deeper sense and not get into day-to-day nursing issues,” Mensik said. “Staffing and those issues can be resolved as all [of us are] contributing to these 10 items.”

Hasmiller and Mensik call on nurses to take action, regardless of their practice setting or country.  

We want them to ask, “What is there in their practice, in their area, that they could do to contribute to making a positive change?” Mensik said. 

The two authors are sharing royalties from the book with the American Red Cross nursing programs and the American Nurses Foundation. 

“Nurses, the largest group of health professionals--and rated the highest on honesty and ethical standards in Gallup polls--must play a prominent role in collaborating with others to address the health needs of this country,” Hassmiller and Mensik said. “Nurses need to speak with a unified voice that underscores the importance of creating healthy societies at community, state, national and global levels.”

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