Addressing Nursing Challenges to Meet Population Needs: Belgium Chief Nursing Officer
Change must be a positive and proactive process in which all nurses support one another. Instead of criticising, we must make a point every day of actively recognising the efforts both of our direct colleagues and of those who take the risk of innovating in the practical application of their skills. Let us be proud of our profession in its entirety and in all its diversity. - Miguel Lardennois
Like many countries, Belgium faces the challenges of addressing the health care needs of its population within a resource constrained budget. Health care issues such as an ageing population and non-communicable diseases are placing a considerable amount of pressure on the services provided by Belgium’s Health System.
The Belgium Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Miguel Lardennois, RN, is all too familiar with these challenges as he supports the Belgium Ministry of Health to deliver on the future requirements of the health sector.
A significant challenge faced by the health care sector in Belgium is the steady progress in scientific reasoning required by health professionals to provide contemporary care. The increasing complexity of care combined with new technology and treatments, means that all health professionals need to review and rethink the way they practice their profession. Mr Lardennois believes that improved access to higher education and training, nurses can assist in making the health system be more efficient and effective. To be empowered to achieve this, the nursing profession requires greater autonomy and greater recognition by authorities, decent remuneration for their skills and working conditions that allow them to maintain a reasonable balance between their private and professional lives.
His recommendations to the Belgium Ministry of Health focus on improving initial education and training for nurses and career planning and progression pathways. Mr Lardennois has been a key contributor in improving access to a Bachelor degree for nursing and the government’s commitment to support the development of advanced practice nursing.
Mr Lardennois believes that there can be no improvement to healthcare access and health outcomes without the nursing profession. He states that “change must be a positive and proactive process in which all nurses support one another. Instead of criticising, we must make a point every day of actively recognising the efforts both of our direct colleagues and of those who take the risk of innovating in the practical application of their skills. Let us be proud of our profession in its entirety and in all its diversity” He further calls on the profession “to be more ambitious and, both in terms of local practice and in each of our countries throughout the world, to consider how we can best promote innovative, original and relatively inexpensive nursing practices so as to meet …the expectations of the population.”