The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health
Earlier this month, the Institute of Medicine released a report about the role nursing will play in health care in the near future. Because nurses comprise the largest portion of the health care industry in the U.S., they are key players in implementing the directives of the Affordable Care Act. But before they can act effectively, nurses need to take certain steps to better prepare themselves as health care workers, according to the report.
In 2008, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the IOM launched a two-year initiative to respond to the need to assess and transform the nursing profession. The IOM appointed the Committee on the RWJF Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the IOM, with the purpose of producing a report that would make recommendations for an action-oriented blueprint for the future of nursing. Through its deliberations, the committee developed four key messages:
• Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training.
• Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
• Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health care professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States.
• Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and information infrastructure.
With higher standards for education and training, nurses can help transform the health care system. Working together with the government and other health care organizations, nurses are easily poised to become a vital contributor in changing U.S. health care for the next few years.