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Marilyn S. Nibling, DNP, APRN, PNP-BC, NNP-BC

Many challenges are apparent in health care today. How do we provide quality care at a reasonable cost to those who need it the most? Why are we in Ohio experiencing high numbers of infant and maternal mortality? And how can nursing address these difficult problems in health care? Doctoral prepared nurses are in the position to make a difference and take a lead role in solving health care problems. Utilizing our knowledge and technological advances, nurses can assume leadership on projects to address local, state and national health care issues.

The age of artificial intelligence utilizing computer diagnostics, pioneered by IBM’s Watson supercomputer, is upon us and technology continues to advance despite efforts to maintain the status quo. Education for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) is ongoing and essential in order to function in the high-tech world of healthcare today. To meet current and future healthcare challenges, nurses must continue to advance their knowledge base.

APRNs need to be prepared to implement routine appointments via video chat, provide telehealth visits, use predictive modeling to calculate prevalence of substance abuse, and to utilize smartphone apps for tracking chronic conditions in rural communities. Advances in nursing informatics gives nurses opportunities to use clinical decision support and other tools to improve patient care and health of the population.

A pertinent example of how APRNs can utilize technology is in the field of genomics. Many nurses in practice may be unaware of how genomics can be useful in everyday practice. As National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Dr. Francis Collins announced in a recent blog post, we are approaching a cure to Sickle Cell Disease due to tools and technologies that are being developed from the Human Genome Project. This communication discusses the real hope for a cure for Sickle Cell Disease using a genomics approach. Obtaining a Doctorate in Nursing Practice can provide a path for nurses to obtain skills and knowledge to tame such technology and help our patients gain innovative quality care!

Advanced Practice Nurses must stay on the leading edge of technology to effectively face challenges in health care. Earning a DNP may prove to be an advantage in meeting these challenges for today and in the future. It’s time to rise up, nurses! Make connections, learn about genomics, telehealth, nursing informatics and other strategies that will improve population health.