Northwell Health

Launette Woolforde, EdD, DNP, RN-BC, Northwell Health

Launette Woolforde

The Scope of
Practice for Nurses

Editors’ Note

Launette Woolforde also serves as an assistant professor at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. Woolforde has also been a nurse educator, orientation coordinator, corporate director for nursing education and senior administrative director for patient care services. She holds a B.S.N., M.S.N. and post master’s certificate in nursing education. She earned a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) from Case Western Reserve University and a doctor of education (EdD) from Columbia University.

Will you discuss your area of focus at Northwell Health?

My focus is on nursing and using nursing professional development to create a highly engaged, professional environment to deliver top-quality care and enable nurses to achieve their personal and professional goals. Developing others is my passion and I’m fortunate to be able to do what I love. I focus on making sure nursing is at the table in conversations from the early stages with our interprofessional colleagues – physicians being one of our primary partners. I leverage the Northwell infrastructure and processes to help the health system achieve and exceed goals through nursing education and interprofessional relationships.

For example, 11 years ago we started a centralized orientation program for nurses across the health system under the leadership of our senior vice president and chief nurse executive, Maureen White. I was able to grow that program into an interprofessional orientation program, which was one of the first of its kind. This program brings nurses at all levels of practice together with physician assistants. We recognized early on that, although we expect them to work together, these team members knew little about each other’s roles and they never learned together. From the first time they began learning together, we never looked back. There have been over 10,000 participants in this program since its inception in 2007.

I am also an assistant professor at the Zucker School of Medicine and, in collaboration with physician faculty partners at the medical school, we revised a transitions course so that it now partners medical students with staff nurses for an experience on the clinical unit. The staff nurses provide education and competency validation for the medical students on some basic skills, nursing unit operations, coordination of care, etc.

Is the nursing profession getting the talent it needs for the future and do young people understand how dynamic the profession is?

The talent is definitely there. However, so is the reality shock for aspiring nurses, so we’re still on the journey. We have made progress in terms of the public’s understanding of the role and scope of nursing, and nursing organizations are working to promote a clearer understanding of the scope of nurses’ work. By and large, people are not aware of the knowledge nurses possess, the complexities they manage and just how integral they are to not just providing care, but coordinating the team on a unit, department and hospital level.

The Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies has really helped to shape the talent needed for advanced practice nursing. Our nursing school is truly way ahead of the curve. Additionally, through the many academic-practice partnerships we have across the country, Northwell is able to represent the realities of professional practice, thus helping people understand how dynamic this profession is.

We help to ensure that our academic partners are aware of the changing landscape of healthcare, as the goal today is to keep patients out of the hospital whenever possible.