December 9, 2015

Hartford Center Director Charges Nurses to Lead Change

Claudia Beverly, PhD, RN


Claudia Beverly, PhD, RN, director of the Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at UAMS, implored her fellow health care professionals to identify a need and find a way to help meet it.

Beverly’s call to action was part of the 10th annual Distinguished Leader in Nursing Lecture Series sponsored by the UAMS College of Nursing and Hartford Center.

“We need to look at Arkansas and our country and what our responsibility is for the health of our society,” said Beverly, also a professor in the UAMS College of Nursing and UAMS College of Public Health.

“Everyone knows we have challenging transformations happening right now in health care,” she said. “Look back five years, what is the same in health care today? Very little. Look five years in the future, what’s going to be the same? I would venture to say very little.”

While the future will hold more changes, it’s important to work together to identify challenges and work through them, Beverly said. A few of the factors to consider for the future are an ever-increasing population of adults age 65 and older, U.S. health care rankings compared to other countries, Arkansas’ health rankings versus other states, and health care costs.
According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 each day until 2030.

“Looking back at the 2010 census, there has been an increase of 5 million in the 65-plus population, which is a 15-percent increase,” said Beverly. “Although we have tried to recruit gerontological nurse specialists and geriatricians, there are not many out there, so the question becomes, who is going to take care of this burgeoning number of older adults?”

Beverly also pointed out poor health ratings for the United States and Arkansas, in addition to the rising cost of health care.

“I want you to ask yourself, what are you going to do to move the needle for all our citizens, including our older adults?” said Beverly. “Keep that in mind, what is your responsibility in changing those numbers?”

The most important aspects of being a leader, Beverly said, are passion, vision and the needs of the society.

“We have countless opportunities to make a difference,” she said. “We need nurses of all ages, academic preparations and health care settings. We need nursing leaders to inspire us to dream, participate and persevere.”

Following, Beverly’s lecture, Jean McSweeney, PhD, RN, professor and associate dean for research in the College of Nursing, revealed the college’s plans to establish a lectureship in nursing leadership in honor of Beverly.

The new lectureship will take the place of the Distinguished Leader in Nursing Lecture Series, which is concluding with the decision by the Hartford Foundation to no longer fund geriatric nursing centers. The Hartford Center at UAMS first received funding in 2001, which was renewed three times over the last 15 years.

“The center’s goal has been to increase the capacity and educational development of academic, geriatric nurses in order to provide expert geriatric care and to improve the health of older Arkansans and people across the United States,” said McSweeney. “It has contributed significantly to the education of geriatric practitioners and researchers.”

The Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence will move forward and continue to seek grants to help with funding. In August, UAMS received a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Advanced Nursing Education program. The grant, led by Beverly, will support geriatric nursing education.

“A few years ago, Dr. Beverly decided she wanted to establish a lectureship in nursing leadership and we have never kicked this off,” said McSweeney. “We do not want this to be the last lectureship, so we are starting a fund to establish the Claudia Beverly Lectureship in Nursing Leadership.”

McSweeney presented Beverly with a $2,000 check from the UAMS College of Nursing to establish the fund. The College of Nursing hopes to raise nearly $40,000 in order for the lectureship series to become endowed.

Claudia Beverly