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  1. Section Editor(s): Rodts, Mary Faut DNP, CNP, ONC, FAAN
  2. Editor

Article Content

There is no question that healthcare for millions of Americans is changing. There is confusion among patients and providers in what all the new changes will mean to accessing and providing care. The hope of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is a comprehensive healthcare reform plan, will put processes in place to ensure that all Americans will have healthcare. It almost sounds too good to be true. Have you ever heard the statement "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." The Affordable Care Act thus is being met with hesitancy by many.

Mary Faut Rodts, DNP... - Click to enlarge in new windowMary Faut Rodts, DNP, CNP, ONC, FAAN, Editor

Terms such as Pay for Performance, Accountable Care Organizations, Health Insurance Marketplace, and Healthcare Insurance Tax Credits are just a few of the programs we should understand. In addition, providers are being warned that their reimbursement will be decreased if participation in programs such as eprescribing, Physician Quality Reporting System, and meaningful use has caused anxiety and concern.


Pressure to perform better and create systems that can make this happen is now being felt by providers and healthcare institutions. Monitoring patient outcomes and making changes to correct areas of weakness are no longer an option. In reality, it is long overdue. We will now be challenged to improve outcomes to avoid penalties and increase reimbursement. Patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes demonstrating excellent patient care will need to be reported.


Kutney-Lee and colleagues (2009) identified 430 hospitals for their research and found that the relationship between nursing satisfaction with the hospital workplace and patient satisfaction as measured on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey demonstrated that patient satisfaction was higher in hospitals where nurses reported better work environment and staffing. Therefore, nursing satisfaction will be a key component to improving patient satisfaction. Institutions will need to evaluate patient outcomes and satisfaction as well as staff satisfaction.


Nurses will play a key role in the future of Healthcare in America. We will need to speak up about what is working and what is not. We will need to become advocates for our patients and ourselves.


It is important for nurses to understand the changes ahead. In future issues of Orthopaedic Nursing, we will help keep you updated on the changing landscape of orthopaedic care. Programs that help you and your patients manage the new changes will be highlighted in the journal. Patients will be looking to you for help in understanding new programs and initiatives.




Kutney-Lee A., McHugh M., Sloane D., Cimiotti J., Flynn L., Neff D., Aiken L. (2009). Nursing: A key to patient satisfaction. Health Affairs, 28(4), 669-677. [Context Link]