Nursing dean assumes leadership role in campaign to transform profession

April 10, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Paula Milone-Nuzzo, dean of Penn State’s College of Nursing, has taken on an ambitious leadership role that will have a profound impact on health care in Pennsylvania and beyond.

On March 24, Milone-Nuzzo was elected chair of the advisory board for the Pennsylvania Action Coalition of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action -- an organization with the goal of transforming the nursing profession to better meet the nation’s health needs.

“Paula brings extraordinary leadership qualities and experience to nursing in Pennsylvania,” said Sarah Hexem, director of the Pennsylvania Action Coalition. “We are excited to have her at the helm as the coalition moves into its next phase.”

The Campaign for Action and its 51 affiliates (in each state and the District of Columbia), known as Action Coalitions, were born of a 2010 landmark Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on nursing, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The report urged nurses to lead change in health care and issued eight specific recommendations for enhancing both nursing practice and access to care. These directives address areas ranging from nurse training and education to professional leadership and workforce policy.

The Campaign for Action was created to implement the recommendations.

“Our goal is to create a healthy Pennsylvania through high-quality, accessible and safe nursing,” Milone-Nuzzo said.

A natural choice to lead

Milone-Nuzzo is well prepared to lead such an initiative. A graduate of the University of Connecticut with both master’s and doctoral degrees, she has made workforce development and health care careers the focus of her own scholarly activities. Shortly after her arrival at Penn State in 2003, then–Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell appointed her to the Pennsylvania Center for Health Careers, where she served on the Leadership Council for six years.

“The center was created to develop strategies to address Pennsylvania’s significant need for health care workers, part of which involved increasing the capacity of the state’s nursing education system,” Milone-Nuzzo said. “Since Penn State is the largest producer of professional nurses in Pennsylvania, we have much to bring to the table for such a discussion.”

When the Pennsylvania Action Coalition was formed in 2011, it was a natural transition for Milone-Nuzzo’s background and leadership experience.

“We have nine regional action coalitions representing every county in the Commonwealth, and we will work at that level to accomplish the goals set forth in The Future of Nursing report,” Milone-Nuzzo said.

To date, the coalition has worked to increase the number of nurses in the Commonwealth with advanced education, including doctoral degrees, Milone-Nuzzo said. A diversity council has also been created to encourage Pennsylvania high school students from diverse backgrounds to choose nursing as a career.

The state advisory board Milone-Nuzzo chairs is made up of stakeholders with diverse areas of expertise—educators, agency administrators, policy makers, and business leaders—with a common interest in transforming health care through nursing, in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States.

“While the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action is a national initiative, the work happening at the state level has a significant impact on the nursing profession in that state,” Milone-Nuzzo said. “Ultimately, our hope is that these changes, on a collective level, will make a difference in the health of all of our nation’s citizens.”

The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action is a joint initiative of AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), working to implement the IOM’s evidence-based recommendations on the future of nursing. The campaign includes 51 action coalitions and the involvement of a wide range of health care professionals, consumer advocates, policy makers, and the business, academic and philanthropic communities. The Center to Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP, the AARP Foundation and RWJF, serves as the campaign’s coordinating entity and the national program office for the Future of Nursing State Implementation Program.

Last Updated April 13, 2015