Achieving better, more accessible healthcare requires “revolutionaries” who find “the kernels of innovation that can lead to positive change and transformation in the way healthcare is delivered in this country,” said Karen Daley, president of the American Nurses Association at the 125th commencement of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing yesterday.
Nursing leadership “is particularly important at a time when our healthcare system does not always seem to prioritize or incentivize what’s best for the patient,” said Dr. Daley. “From a systems perspective, patient-led care is a novelty, a new idea that the nation is struggling to embrace. But from our perspective – the nursing perspective – patient-centered care is all there is.”
Dr. Daley encouraged the Penn Nursing graduates to exceed the status quo and recognize opportunities to transform the profession in “little moments that can grow into great opportunities,” which evoked her own work on the federal Needlestick Safety Prevention Act of 2000.
“The path to greatness is likely to be hidden in the nooks and crannies of everyday life,” said Dr. Daley. “Nursing trailblazers before you found their paths by paying attention to small signals – areas of need where no one else was focusing.”
That is the making of a legacy, said Dr. Daley. Graduates are entering the nursing profession at a “critical juncture in healthcare . . . a time that I believe holds great opportunity for nursing and for patients whose voices have not always been easily heard.”
Dr. Daley advised the graduates to consider furthering their education. “It will keep your passion for nursing alive,” she said. “We need people like you to help prepare others for futures in healthcare and as contributors to the science of our profession and to healthcare innovation.”