Department: Editor's Memo
Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have had many opportunities to travel to several countries to learn about their education and healthcare systems in relation to graduate NP education and practice. I recently spent 3 weeks in Kaunas, Lithuania, as a Fulbright Specialist at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LUHS), Department of Nursing and Care. I have worked with their faculty for several years to help implement advanced nursing practice (ANP), develop a master's-level curriculum, and introduce the NP role in practice.
This being my second visit, I concentrated more on the details as opposed to general information. The Dean of the LUHS School of Nursing and faculty came to the United States on many occasions to establish a collaborative relationship with the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing, where I teach. They also began conversations with elected officials, government offices, academic health center administrators, physicians, and other stakeholders in Lithuania to introduce the concept of ANP and a new role for nurses.
Their efforts to engage key influencers and gain the support needed to develop a new master's-level academic nursing program were successful. In fall 2015, the department enrolled students in the first NP program in the country—a significant milestone. But with change comes challenges, and promoters of ANP encounter issues similar to the ones experienced here in the United States.
ANP outside the United States
Elevating the education levels of nurses and the status of nursing as a profession are goals in many countries. In Lithuania, I observed a growing interest among those in decision-making positions to acknowledge the work of nurses and their willingness to provide avenues for advancement and greater autonomy at the RN and now ANP levels.
Educational and healthcare systems are complex, and although I gained more of an understanding of these in Lithuania, I still have much to learn to fully understand how ANP can progress there.
Nursing progress in Lithuania
The goals of my Fulbright project were to conduct workshops on education strategies for nurse preceptors and academic nurses; develop clinical teaching guides that applied current best practices in clinical education, including simulation; identify resources to assist faculty with teaching in the ANP program; evaluate the curriculum and outcomes of the LUHS ANP program; discuss with various university, institutional, and community stakeholders the roles of advanced practice nurses and strategies for implementing the role that meet the highest international standards; and to provide guidance on disseminating the outcomes of the ANP program.
I interacted with students, faculty, and administrators, and delivered one of the keynote addresses at the International Conference held on May 4, 2018. I was honored when the Minister of Health of the Republic of Lithuania, Aurelijus Veryga, presented me with a certificate of appreciation for my role in helping to develop ANP in the country. The work is ongoing, and I look forward to years of collaboration for a greater future for nursing in Lithuania.
A call for international authors
Healthcare systems vary between countries, but all nurses have a common purpose: to provide the highest quality care that improves patient outcomes. Advanced education for nurses with an expanded scope of practice is one way to achieve this purpose. The Nurse Practitioner actively seeks manuscripts from our international colleagues. I encourage you to read what nurses elsewhere are doing to elevate our profession and to aid with international awareness of the important work NPs do by contributing to the journal. Contact NPEdit@wolterskluwer.com for more information.
Jamesetta A. Newland, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP, FAAN