Nurses learn about the future of nursing at health care conference


MARCY, N.Y. (WKTV) - SUNY IT held a day-long Primary Health Care Conference on Wednesday in order to bring nurses and students together and learn about the future of nursing and how they could help transform the health care system.

40 SUNYIT nurse practitioners graduating in May hosted the day. In teams, they presented medical topics they've researched to undergraduates and then gathered for a presentation from Executive Director of New York State's Foundation of Nurses, Dr.Cathryne Welch.

Dr. Welch spoke to nurses about the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) recent report, as well as the future of nursing. One of the big topics she discussed was the IOM's recommendation to increase the number of of nurses with a bachelor's degree.

"Right now, the academic requirements for licensure of nurses are lower than any other healthcare profession," says Dr. Welch. "The sooner that nursing can demonstrate that, it's on an equal playing field. With respect to educational perspectives, the more persuasive it can be in persuading the public and other healthcare professions to do what is appropriate to ensure safe and quality healthcare."

Dr. Welch says that the New York State Nurses Foundation has been working on trying to eliminate the barriers that prevent nurses from going on to get their bachelors degree, and that across the state, there are many colleges that even offer reduced tuition for nurses seeking additional degrees.

SUNYIT has a partnership with St.Elizabeth College of Nursing in Utica, where students spend their first and last years at SUNYIT and then two years in between at St. Elizabeth to receive a bachelor's degree.

The college also has an RN to BS program for nurses that already have their RN with only an associate's degree or diploma, offering many flexible online courses.

SUNYIT says that with the exception of Syracuse University, they are the only Upstate New York State school with a nursing program, offering students a local and affordable way to advance their education and help the health care field.

"We all know that the country has a health care crisis," says a SUNYIT Student Nurse Practitioner. "It's economic as well as access and nurses can play a pivotal role not only economically in terms of providing a need... but providing access to health care because as long as we continue to graduate nurses they'll be people to meet the needs."

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