Maverick Health Honors Nurse “Edge Runners”


The Edge Runner program is a part of the Raise the Voice initiative funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and directed by the American Academy of Nursing. It recognizes nursing professionals who are finding new ways to improve and promote the health of patients.

It hasn’t gotten nearly the media play it should, nor have these Edge Runners had as much recognition as they deserve.

On the Edge

With health care reform in full swing we need to hear from nurses on the edge. I write a column for NP World News (it is also posted here on the blog) called “NPs on the Edge”. This “edgy” language is not random. The edge is where you get out from under unquestioned assumptions and try new approaches. The Edge Runners honored by the Raise the Voice initiative (and today by Maverick Health!) are doing just that – and they are succeeding!

Solving the Puzzle of Health (Care) Reform

Nursing wisdom and expertise is still a missing piece in the puzzle of health (care) reform. Health reform will not succeed until nurses’ voices are heard. Nurses have many of the solutions to serious health problems that threaten us today and in the future. Here are just a few of the things NPs and nurses are doing all across the country. There are too many Edge Runners to honor individually but you can read about each one at this Edge Runners list.

NPs Deliver High Quality Primary Care

  • NP run health care centers provide high quality primary care (in spite of outdated practice restrictions that continue to limit NP’s effectiveness).
    [My Note: These are often called “nurse managed health centers”, but to be accurate they are “nurse practitioner managed health centers”. Only NPs are licensed to provide primary care, RNs are not. Both are nursing professionals but each has a different scope of practice. For more on nurses’ confusing titles and different scopes of practice please read my post “It is a Mistake to Call a Nurse Practitioner a Nurse“.]
  • NP run retail clinics serve the uninsured and those without medical “homes” with convenient, high quality and affordable care.
  • NPs control health care costs by reducing hospitalizations. (A number of the Edge Runner programs have resulted in cost savings in the millions for the communities they serve!)
  • NPs coordinate and manage interdisciplinary care among various provider groups to keep care patient-centered rather than provider-centered.
  • NPs and nurses are designing databases that measure the quality of patient care and patient outcomes.
  • NPs partner with employers to provide wellness coaching and lifestyle counseling to employees that improves employee fitness and reduces health risks.
  • NPs have replaced emergency room physicians in some rural areas by partnering with physician specialists who make themselves available for consultations 24/7 via computer connections from distant teaching hospitals.
  • An NP created a teaching program for African American women at risk for HIV. It is culturally sensitive, theory driven, gender specific and designed to be easily integrated into other primary care practices.

Nursing Innovations Improve Care for Children and Families

  • Independent birthing centers run by nurse midwives offer comprehensive care and reduce pre-term births.
  • Nurses teach parenting classes to give parents skills to manage difficult, real-life child behaviors that put parents, children and families at risk.
  • Nurses teach middle school children with diabetes coping and communication skills so they can successfully manage both their blood sugars and their lives.
  • Nurses created end of life care programs specifically for terminally ill children.
  • NPs offer home based interdisciplinary care to support families where grandparents are raising grandchildren.
  • NPs designed a program to integrate physical and mental health care for children and adolescents that could change the way primary pediatric care is practiced in the U.S.
  • Nurses re-conceptualized the way care is delivered in ICUs (intensive care units) that changes the strictly medical focus to a patient-centered one where family wishes and the patient’s quality of life get included in the plan of care.

Nursing Redefining Elder Care

  • NPs are providing home care and case management so seniors can remain in their own homes instead of being forced into nursing homes.
  • NPs are managing health care and well-being services for elders and those with complex medical and social needs to overcome fragmentation of care, improve health outcomes, and increase patient satisfaction. (One such program, Evercare, saved the state of Texas $123 million in Harris County alone between February 2000 and January 2002 and has spurred greater use of nurse practitioners in long-term care.)
  • NPs are leading programs that improve heart failure patients’ quality of life by teaching them self management skills that reduce their number of hospitalizations.
  • Nurses are establishing day programs to serve the needs of elders with cognitive impairments and their families
  • Nurses are teaching seniors how to preserve cognitive skills by using attention focusing, memory strategy training, repeated practice, and mind/body integration.

Watch a 6-Minute Video about the Edge Runners

Thank you Edge Runners and thank you Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for recognizing the critical role nursing professionals play in health and health care reform. And welcome all of you to the Maverick Health Hall of Fame – you are an inspiration!

Would anyone like to leave a comment to thank these extraordinary nurses?

This information is offered for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prescribe or treat. For that please seek direct care from a health professional.

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