Advancing the nursing profession

A notable area of progress is within the College of Nursing, led by Humana-Endowed Chair Kathryn Tart.

“The healthcare system needs more nurses, and nurses need the best training and education possible,” said Kathy Driscoll, Chief Nursing Officer at Humana. “As the role of nursing continues to evolve with in-home care and primary care delivery, today’s nurses increasingly need the resources and inter-professional training to operate at the top of their license and seamlessly transition from the classroom to the field. This is critical in their role to help promote positive health outcomes for patients and communities.”

University of Houston nursing students are also gaining valuable field experience when they can accompany Humana social workers during real-life, in-home patient visits. Nursing graduates who participated in this newly available program from Humana attest that this cohort experience increased their competence in providing care beyond a traditional clinical environment and revealed the expansive facets of the profession beyond single-task nursing. After participating in field experiences, students also expressed a newfound appreciation for their profession. Some are even considering alternative approaches to their work, such as telehealth or in-home nursing.

“Classroom training is just part of what nurses need to be successful. With programs from the Institute, students are taking advantage of non-classroom training they wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else, and this allows us to close the training gap between the classroom and clinical environments,” said Dean Tart. “When we train students on real-life scenarios like food insecurity or the effects of loneliness, we’re empowering them with critical knowledge and context to use once they’re practicing nurses and engage with a broader healthcare team. These experiences are built with expertise from Humana’s business and under recognized patient needs, which provide students perspective, practice and discussion around the realities of nursing so they are better positioned to improve overall value of care.”

Both organizations are now considering virtual options for clinical rotations to support a new normal in our society, where in-home visits may not be as readily available or feasible for students.  Telehealth has become a new norm that is not going away.  Leveraging this technology for rotational assignments, as least a complement, will not only fulfill that educational component, but it will also build students’ competence with new technologies and treatment modalities.