Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Professor Lynch

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This paper is being published at a time of tremendous opportunity for health care reform. In the last decade, the US worked to achieve its refined health care reform goals: increased access to care, greater quality of patient care and reduced health costs. Millions of Americans have since joined Medicare/Medicaid programs, however, for many of these hopeful beneficiaries, their health plans remained substandard. Due to physician shortages, heated turf wars, and an increasingly complex public/private system, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 was unable to live up to its promises. It is time for US elites to put aside their political differences and modernize our health care system.

I believe reform efforts should be focused on redesigning our system to fit a new and expanded role of nurses. Inspired by the 2010 Institute of Medicine’s report on The Future of Nursing, this paper explains why nurses are uniquely positioned to fix our gap in healthcare providers and reduce health disparities. The recent advancements to their education and training, as well as sheer diversity in numbers, makes nurses an ideal solution to the challenges of our health care system today. Unfortunately, their full potential is blocked by states with restrictive scope of practice regulations on advanced-practice registered nurses, particularly for nurse practitioners.

This paper offers a range of studies and professional perspectives on health policy and the nursing profession to argue for states to lift their restrictive scope of practice laws. I believe that we must reinvent our health care system to allow nurses to assume their worthy spot as leaders and key team members. In doing so, our health care system will be transformed into a patient-centered, diverse organization---one suited to overcome the arduous challenges of 21st-century health care reforms. This paper also intends to abolish the unjustified prejudice against the nursing profession---particularly the cryptic opposition to independent nurse practitioners---and enlighten my readers about the true value of the entire nursing workforce. The optimum goal is to bring greater awareness to nursing organizations and advocacy campaigns, so that the US bureaucracy is finally pressured to redesign our health care system in accordance with the expanded role of nurses.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.