The Affordable Care Act and the new Health Care Marketplaces may be the center of debate across the nation for political and public entities, but from a personal and perspective assessment, it offers many opportunities for the healthcare profession. As a nurse, the provisions under the ACA are promising in my professional pursuit. Here are some ways that the ACA may allow nurses to excel in our field:
1. More resources for pursuing higher education.
Now, there is likely to be more funding available to nurses and nurses in training who want to continue to reach out for higher positions, including education. Funding for MAs, NP’s and PhDs is available to many nurses and nursing students, more so now than ever before. Before the ACA passed, it was difficult for nurses to pursue graduate studies in Master’s programs because of the lack of assistance other than student loans. Most nurses have student loan debts because of undergraduate studies. A dedicated professional should not have to be in debt forever in order to practice as a nurse.
2. Cultural competency will be a driving force
The ACA will improve the Nursing Workforce Diversity Program. I have noticed changes in advocating cultural competence, diversity training, stipends, and other activities that will improve workplace diversity as well as retention plans for keeping skilled nurses in the same organization. The raise in cultural awareness has also offered beneficial insight on the vast patient populations that I provide nursing care to. Provisions in the ACA can only steer to improving my role as a nurse.
3. There will be easier access to continuing education.
The ACA endeavors to make health care affordable and available for all US citizens. This will require nurses to be more educated, and this will mean more requirements for continuing education. In addition, there is now more help for seasoned nurses that may not be able to afford more training in nurse education, leadership, or practitioner training. For single working mothers like me, I have the opportunity to further pursue my educational goals because of this access.
4. The ACA will ensure that more grants are available to patients and communities
There will be more grants available to patients in the home setting, including mothers-to-be, which will minimize accidents and mortalities. Stipulations in the ACA will make grants available to nurses who want to work in home health care, as well as hospitals and clinics that might be interested in pursuing this avenue of medicine. More options will be available to community-based clinics as well, and this is good news for the increase in nursing positions it will bring. The home care setting has proven to be the most cost effective and patient-centered in care planning. Inpatient hospital stays further compound public health disparities. Patients who are in the hospital are at a huge risk for hospital acquired infections that are extremely costly, difficult to treat, and sometimes deadly.
5. Medical staff will be required to understand and adhere to home health regulations
For nurses who have worked at home, or in hospice care before, the ACA law requires that nurse practitioners must meet patients in-person at the beginning of treatment, and at regular intervals. This will increase the responsibilities of nurses and other health care workers, but it will also create a higher demand for qualified nurse practitioners. Unfortunately, some home care and hospice agencies have taken advantage of the ignorance of providers who prescribe care in the home setting. This fraudulence has resulted in a stark number of Medicare and Medicaid dollars lost. Tighter regulations will prove to reduce costs to the healthcare system, and allow for more resources to be available to those in need.
6. Job security
The ACA will undoubtedly affect my life as a nurse. It will create new jobs, give hard working and educated nurses the chance to excel. It will provide nursing students with all of the resources needed to continue to work their way towards a career goal of becoming a nurse, and becoming specialists. Most importantly, the ACA will help more individuals get access to life-saving medical care. This is something every nurse should be happy about; in the end, we are all in this business because we care about the health of our neighbors.