As part of our series of question-and-answer chats with healthcare leaders, Kristen Straka, DNP, RN, CPN, vice president of the Society of Pediatric Nurses, discusses how healthcare reform will impact the profession and how pediatric nurses can best advance their careers.
(The interview has been edited for length and clarity.)
What’s the biggest change you either already see or foresee with healthcare reform, specifically for pediatric nurses?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers pediatric patients the ability to have greater access to providers. Because of this, there is much opportunity in the area of advanced practice, particularly Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners. As pediatric nurses, we strive every day to promote professional growth and development of all nurses. In addition, the ACA has funding set aside for initiatives such as childhood obesity that will continue to promote part of the pediatric nurse’s focus on prevention and wellness.
What are the biggest changes in the workplace for members of your association?
Changes in the workforce are positive, as there has been a focus on promoting outcomes and improving patient care. Part of this improvement is the proposal to have 80 percent of nursing staff prepared at the BSN level, which supports the research of improved patient outcomes.
Because of this change, part of the responsibility as a professional organization is to provide scholarships and funding to support our members in their efforts.
What specialties or certifications do you see growing in the next five years?
The behavioral health specialty is one that is growing with the increased diagnosis on the autism spectrum.
For newcomers in pediatric nursing, what’s your best advice?
My best advice for new pediatric nurses is to be an advocate for your patients as they often cannot advocate for themselves. Continue to develop relationships with not only the patients but also their family members, as they are an integral part of their child’s recovery.
And for mid-career professionals?
Remember why you entered the specialty of pediatric nursing and continue that momentum. Always question current practice, and look for ways to improve patient care through evidence-based practice and research, as well as developing professionally through organizations and certifications related to pediatrics.
Our series of question-and-answer chats features leaders in various healthcare organizations and associations. Want your association leader to share their vision for the future of healthcare? Email your contact information to the firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Health Callings, Dice Holdings Inc., 2013