It’s appropriate today, on International Nurses Day, to talk about the role of nurses in healthcare and more particularly aged care.

The theme of this year’s IND is

‘Nurses A Voice to Lead – Health is a Human right’.

The voice of nursing is to be heard “no matter the location, no matter the setting, and that healthcare should be accessible to all“.

Nurses as Advocates

Clearly the voice and role of nurses in advocacy for their clients/patients/customers is being championed this year by the International Council of Nursing.

So will we be seeing more advocacy and debate being driven by nurses in the aged care sector and what part can they play? And what will be the focus of this advocacy?

Staff mix shouldn’t the only focus

To date the contribution has been focussed on staffing mix or ratios and not on the broader issues of nurses health promotion and supporting role in aged care. The focus on staffing mix, while important, doesn’t speak to the outcomes we are wanting for aged care clients – and is in danger of seeming to be motivated by self interest.

VoiceIs a new advocacy focus needed?

So perhaps the debate in aged care, and advocacy by nursing, should be on how nursing can drive and achieve better health and lifestyle outcomes for those they care for.

This has a focus on quality health outcomes and active ageing while cementing the input of nurses in the design and delivery of wellness programs. There are potentially many ‘wins’ from this new focus on advocacy by the nurses and the nursing profession.

Let’s collectively expand the debate in aged care.

What do you think we should focus on?