Improving patient care topic of Harris College speaker

A senior adviser for nursing at the nationally known health care philanthropy Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will explain the eight areas that need improvement in order to improve future patient care at a lecture at the Kelly Alumni Center tonight.

Susan Hassmiller’s lecture, “The Future of Nursing and Healthcare,” is sponsored by The Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences and will focus on the future of nursing.

“It is important to hear Dr. Hassmiller speak on the future of nursing because we are at a crossroads for nursing and the health of the nation,” Paulette Burns, dean of the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said in a statement.

Burns was unavailable for an interview Wednesday.

Hassmiller listed working closely with service partners as well as working cooperatively with doctors and other health care professionals among the eight areas on which nurses and nursing schools should focus.

She said in addition she would also speak about how changes in population dynamics affect the focus of nurses.

“Nurses and nursing schools, nursing schools in particular, need to pay attention to what’s going on in society in order to know what the needs are for a changing society, and that means an aging society,” Hassmiller said.

She said nurses in an aging society would need to promote prevention of disease as well as care for those with chronic illnesses.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., provides grants for initiatives that address issues such as childhood obesity, health care coverage, public health and quality/equality, according to the foundation’s Web site. The philanthropy was started by Robert Wood Johnson, founder of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.

Tara Wanzeck, a senior nursing major, said she plans to attend Hassmiller’s lecture because she is interested in health care reform, specifically how business connections could affect the future of health care.

“I’m really open to hearing different opinions just because I haven’t really 100 percent created my own opinion about all the different aspects,” Wanzeck said. “So I think it’s important to hear other people’s side without a biased opinion before you’re going into it.”

Wanzeck said she is excited to hear Hassmiller’s views on nursing and health care reform, but she thinks it is important to educate citizens long before they experience any health care issues. She said many issues could be prevented if people knew what symptoms to look for and if they could see a health care professional without worrying about money. Wanzeck said she has avoided seeing a doctor because she did not want to pay $40 for a visit.

“The Future of Nursing and Healthcare” with Susan Hassmiller

When: 5 p.m. tonight

Where: Kelly Alumni Center

Event is free, but contact Laurie Burton to R.S.V.P.