10 Questions with Deborah E. Trautman
1) What (or who) inspired you to pursue a career in nursing?
One of my first paid positions was as a nurse’s aide working over the summer in high school. I was impressed by the entire healthcare team but most by the nurses. The nurses I worked with were smart, compassionate, and great advocates for patients. I connected with the patients and staff. I enjoyed the work. Nursing is a great profession with many opportunities to make a difference.
2) In taking the position of Executive Director of the Center for Health Policy and Healthcare Transformation at Johns Hopkins, what motivated you to move from the practice arena to policy?
As a practicing nurse and nurse executive, I understood the impact healthcare professionals have on organizational policy. Outcomes improve when all members of the healthcare team contribute. I was interested in expanding this impact.
3) How important is interprofessional collaboration to the future of healthcare?
Extremely important. Maximizing the distinct but complementary skill sets of all healthcare professionals is critically important to improving health and health care. Patient care and the health of the nation will only get better as we work smarter together. We should also continue to increase our efforts to advance patient- centered care and community engagement. Together we can and will accomplish more.
4) What attracted you to the position of AACN Chief Executive Officer (CEO)?
AACN is a highly respected voice for nursing. Because of Polly’s stewardship, leadership from the Board, and the work of the staff, AACN is recognized within and outside of the profession for advancing excellence in the education, practice, research, and professionalism of nursing. I welcome the opportunity to continue this legacy, provide leadership to support achieving the goals of the strategic plan, and by doing so, strengthen nursing’s visibility, participation, and leadership in our nation’s efforts to improve health and health care.
5) What has been your previous involvement and experience with AACN?
Although I knew about AACN, it wasn’t until I was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow (RWJHP), that I fully understood AACN’s mission and impact. Early on, I had the good fortune to meet Suzanne Miyamoto, AACN’s Director of Government Affairs and Health Policy. I was one of four nurses in the 2007/2008 RWJHP fellowship. One of our earliest observations was the importance of nursing’s voice in shaping the fundamental components of health reform. Recognizing this opportunity, Suzanne (AACN) organized a task force of nursing organizations to develop a consensus statement from the nursing community. I know it wasn’t easy, but AACN led an impressive effort and was a role model for excellence in nursing advocacy. The development of the document “A Commitment to Quality Health Reform” was supported by over 20 national nursing associations. Our office (Speaker’s office) and many others referenced this document when looking for guidance in shaping policy.
6) How will you draw on your previous experience in your new role as CEO?
I have had the benefit of viewing the profession and the issues we face from different lenses (practice, academia and advocacy). Each is critically important and will serve me well.
7) What is one of the biggest issues facing nursing education today?
Nurse educators today must meet the challenge of preparing a highly competent nursing workforce able to navigate a rapidly changing healthcare environment. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, health care is moving to adopt new care delivery models that emphasize team-based care, including the Medical (Healthcare) Home and Accountable Care Organizations. These care models require closer collaboration among thefull spectrum of providers and will impact how healthcare professionals are prepared for contemporary practice. I look forward to working closely with members and key decision-makers to ensure that nurses are well-equipped to thrive as critical members of the healthcare team in a variety of practice settings.
8) What challenges and opportunities do you foresee for the nursing profession in the near future?
We have entered an unprecedented era of opportunity and transformation. National efforts to improve the experience of care and the health of the population while reducing per capita costs are and will be the primary drivers of this transformation .Nursing has the opportunity and responsibility to participate in this new era of change. Leadership from all healthcare professions is critical.
9) What are some goals that you have set as you begin your tenure as CEO?
Though nursing education has made great strides in addressing the recommendations put forth in the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report, there is still much more work to do. As CEO, I will work collaboratively to mobilize AACN’s resources and networks to continue the work underway to remove scope of practice barriers facing advanced practice registered nurses; increase the proportion of nurses in the workforce with baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees; enhance data collection efforts needed to shape policy; and create leadership development opportunities for nurses at all levels, among other priorities. Accomplishing these goals will require engaging a broad community of constituents and stakeholders to advance AACN’s strategic priorities.
10) Where do you expect AACN and the nation to be in 2020?
I expect AACN to continue to be a driving force in improving health and health care. Healthcare professionals will be providing care in integrated delivery systems with an emphasis on team-based care. We will have a better understanding and operationalization of the concept that “all health professionals practice at the highest level of competence,” and we will have a stronger person-centered, population-focused approach. There will not be a one size fits all approach. AACN will engage a broad community that shares accountability and ownership of our mission, vision, values, and outcomes. We will demonstrate national and international leadership in developing the healthcare workforce. We will nurture an innovative learning environment for the membership, the profession, and the organization.