Johns Hopkins Policy Institute Focuses on Nurse-Led Solutions

Nov. 3, 2023
Goal is to shift toward more preventive, value-based and whole-person care approaches, away from primarily treatment-focused care

The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON) has launched an Institute for Policy Solutions in Washington, D.C., to work on nurse-led solutions to the problems facing the U.S. health system.

The Institute’s goal is to shift policy and practice toward more preventive, value-based and whole-person care approaches, away from primarily treatment-focused care. 

A focus on eliminating racist policies and structures entrenched in the country’s healthcare establishment and other systems that impact people’s ability to be healthy (housing, education, workforce, etc.) will underpin the Institute’s work.  

“No matter who you are or where you live, you deserve the opportunity for a healthy life. Despite spending more on health care than any other high-income nation, this opportunity is not afforded to far too many people in the United States. The Institute aims to change that,” said Institute for Policy Solutions Director Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Ph.D., M.P.H., L.C.S.W., R.N., in a statement. “We must move away from putting band-aids on the critical healthcare challenges we face. Nurses are key to driving effective solutions: We have expertise in the strengths, needs and perspectives of the families and communities we serve.” 

JHSON refers to nurses as “the oxygen of the health system,” noting that  “with their flexibility, teamwork, care coordination, cultural responsiveness and humility, and clinical expertise, nurses are trusted partners to others working to improve health. And they are leaders in creating innovative models of care that have the potential of scaling to statewide, regional or national initiatives.”

Here are three JHSON examples of nurse-led models:   

Neighborhood Nursing: In this new pilot program based in Maryland, nurses collaborate with community health workers and others to establish relationships with people block-to-block and family-to-family, so they truly understand the health needs of a community in order to prevent illness, build social connections and improve overall health. The goal is to ensure that all people can obtain what they need and what they want to better manage their health and overall well-being.   

CAPABLE: Older adults collaborate with a nurse, an occupational therapist and a handy worker to set actionable goals and modify their housing to age with dignity in their communities. JHSON says CAPABLE decreases hospitalizations and nursing home stays and provides more than seven times return on investment. Roughly $3,000 in program costs per participant yields more than $22,000 in savings in medical costs driven by reductions in both inpatient and outpatient expenditures. 

Nurse-Community-Family Partnership (NCFP): NCFP emerged from a national, NIH-led effort to strengthen community-engaged responses to the inequitable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. NCFP is a nurse-led, community-based intervention that leverages individual, family, institutional and systems factors to shape COVID-19 mitigation outcomes and well-being at the individual and household levels, including COVID-19 testing, vaccine uptake and family mutual aid. NCFP is based on the principles of the nurse-led model of care, delivers care in the home via interdisciplinary nurse-community health worker teams and takes an approach focused on comprehensive mitigation of harmful social determinants of health.  

“Nurse-led solutions work,” said JHSON Dean Sarah Szanton, Ph.D., R.N., in a statement. “The evidence bears it out – they expand access, lower costs and most importantly, improve people’s lives. We must seize this moment that is ripe for transformation and ensure that those at the forefront of policy change embrace the role of nurse-led models to solve some of our health care system’s biggest challenges.”