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Release: Immediate

20th annual Progressive Nursing Day to address future, possibilities of nursing

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Between 500 and 750 people are expected to attend the 20th annual Progressive Nursing Day Feb. 28 to address nursing in changing health care environments, including moving nurses from institution-based care to entrepreneurship and community-based care.

The event is sponsored by the University of Iowa Association of Nursing Students (UIANS) and the Gamma Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the international nursing honor society. The keynote speaker will be Melanie C. Dreher, dean of the UI College of Nursing. Her speech will address the driving forces behind shifts in nursing care.

"As health insurance shifts toward cost-conscious health maintenance organizations, there are simply more incentives to seek and dispense preventive care and more disincentives for hospital stays. This shift means fewer hospitals needing fewer nurses," Dreher says. "Yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics designates nursing as a high-growth occupation. The Public Health Service and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing estimate that by the year 2005, there will be a shortfall of approximately 400,000 nurses with bachelor's degrees and about 200,000 nurses with master's degrees and doctorates."

Dreher noted that as bachelor's- and master's-prepared nurses become the key providers of managed care in both acute and community settings, there will be an increased need for nurses -- particularly to work with underserved, rural and elderly populations. Dreher says that these changes in health care provide the nursing profession with an unparalleled opportunity to activate its long-standing vision of holistic, continuous, integrated and cost-effective health care.

Nurses who want to be part of the health care system of the future need to take the initiative to study the industry and the problems it is facing and define solutions to those problems, Dreher says. Those people will be the ones who succeed in the health care system of the future, she says.

Progressive Nursing Day draws people from throughout the Midwest to the UI. This year's event has a number of objectives. They include describing how cultural, societal and economic trends have affected the delivery of health care and nursing practice and how nursing educators and nursing curriculum must respond to current changes in health care delivery .

The event will take place in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union and is open to the public. There is an entrance fee of $5, which includes a program, event materials and refreshments. Continuing education credit recording is available for $40, which includes the entrance fee. UI nursing students get in free with their student ID.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the College of Nursing in advance at 335-7018.