Thought you'd like to read this article from Medical News:

To ensure the public understands that quality health care provided by registered nurses (RNs) is just as important in outpatient settings as in the hospital, the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) has released a position statement advocating for the RN's role in these settings.

The statement, which was recently approved by AAACN's Board of Directors and reviewed by the association's members, is entitled "The Role of the Registered Nurse in Ambulatory Care." It outlines four key points regarding the role of this specialized nurse:

- RNs enhance patient safety and quality care, thus they are essential and irreplaceable in ambulatory settings.

- RNs are responsible for all aspects of professional nursing services within an organization, are familiar with - and abide by - state practice acts and other professional standards.

- RNs provide leadership and coordination of care and services by delegating tasks as appropriate to licensed practical nurses/licensed vocational nurses (LPNs/LVNs) and unlicensed assistive personnel in ambulatory care settings.

- RNs are fully accountable in ambulatory care settings for all nursing services and outcomes of care provided under their direction.

The goal of the position statement, according to Carol Rutenberg, MNSc, RN-BC, C-TNP, chair of the AAACN task force that wrote the statement, is to educate others about the importance of the RN in ambulatory care and to provide support to RNs in these settings.

"Due to the increased complexity of care being delivered outside the hospital, it is critical that organizations, health care personnel, and members of the public recognize the value and importance of having RNs delivering and/or coordinating nursing services in ambulatory care settings," Rutenberg said.

She also pointed out that under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), more patients will be accessing care in ambulatory settings, creating the need for more of these specialty RNs to coordinate patient care and provide self-care strategies to promote wellness.

Rutenberg said a AAACN task force will continue working on this project in 2011 by developing a more detailed position paper that will provide evidence on the value of RNs and further delineate their role in providing ambulatory health care services.

Ambulatory care nurses work in a wide variety of settings, from the community to physician group practices to call centers. Their roles include nurse managers and administrators; staff nurses, educators, consultants, nurse practitioners and researchers. They are highly trained and are respected as leaders and innovators in the health care industry.

American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN)