Nursing educators have the opportunity to advance nursing's agenda for health care reform to ensure effective health care for all members of society. They have a key role in fostering the political involvement of student nurses and nurses who have returned to school for baccalaureate or graduate education. Role modeling is critical to increasing their visibility as political activists. Structured activities within the curriculum are an important vehicle for enhancing political or professional activity. Another major means of advancing nursing's agenda for health care reform is the development of professional nurse behaviors that are essential for functioning in new or radically altered health delivery systems. Students must be empowered so that they can assume a leadership role in whatever setting they choose to practice. Key to empowerment is the provision of clinical experiences that foster independence and the leadership skills necessary for case management, managed care, and negotiating in the complex health care environment. The empowerment of the individual that comes from success is enhanced in an environment that empowers the nursing community. Educational institutions can forge partnerships with community agencies to facilitate change and growth. Nurse educators should also provide for enhancement of nurses' understanding of ethical issues in a climate of shrinking health care resources. (YLB)
Submitted for publication in "The Pennsylvania Nurse."