SUNA's Position on Access to Health Care
Glenn Sulley, BS, RN, CURN, FAUNA
The SUNA position statement, Access to Health Care, is a really important position statement, and I want to thank our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force for doing a tremendous job on their review and revision of this statement. Your hard work and dedication to SUNA is greatly appreciated.
I am proud we are intentional and committed to be an advocate for safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable care for all who seek and need health care. I’m also very encouraged that this position statement aligns with SUNA’s current mission and vision: “Empowering health care professionals to improve the quality of life for urology patients and caregivers, and optimal outcomes for all patients through high-quality care.” It demonstrates a commitment to doing our part in having a direct impact on those seeking urologic care.
Disparity issues are complex, with economic, cultural, and educational components requiring an integrated effort. At our recent 2022 SUNA uroLogic Conference in New Orleans, Sue Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, delivered a keynote address on “The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity” (National Academy of Medicine [NAM], 2021).
She discussed how this NAM report challenges nursing leaders and other stakeholders both within and outside of health care to prioritize addressing structural inequities that have fueled persistent health disparities. She enthusiastically shared a series of recommendations in this report that will help meet the need for a stronger, more diversified nursing workforce that is prepared to provide care and promote health and well-being among nurses, individuals, and communities.
We need to reduce health inequities, and a significant investment in broader and deeper development of nurse leaders will be needed. Two important takeaways from this presentation based on the recommendations were to permanently remove nurse practice barriers and value nurses’ contributions. SUNA stands strong at every opportunity for advocacy, and as part of our strategic plan, we have designed goals to champion the importance of urology registered nurses and advanced practice providers, and establish standards to increase all patient safety outcomes.
We, as urology professionals, need to be aware of the challenges and obstacles patients encounter in outpatient clinics, hospitals, and rehab settings. We are committed to help lead change that results in achieving equity in health and health care, and I believe we need to continue exploring ways we can influence urologic disease prevention. Examples include how we may help reduce the chances of women with bladder cancer presenting with advanced disease and Black men presenting with advanced prostate cancer, and ensure low-income patients are able to participate in regular annual health screenings, such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) examination.
Change can be made with effort and commitment, and I am honored to be a member of an organization that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure equal care and clinical outcomes for everyone.
I encourage you to read the NAM report, and I challenge you as urology professionals to help discover new ways or means that will help make a difference. We all play a part in charting this path to achieve health equity, and I’m excited about what we can accomplish together.
Thank you so much.
Glenn Sulley, BS, RN, CURN, FAUNA
National Academy of Medicine (NAM). (2021). The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a path to achieve health equity. https://nap. nationalacademies.org/read/25982/chapter/1#iii
View SUNA Position Statement, Access to Health Care Position Statement.