Nursing career is one of the few fastest growing fields in the health care industry, not only in the United States, but also in the world. Nurse practice has drastically changed in the last decade and as a result the need for changes in nursing practice is becoming more and more important. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) will place many demands on health professionals and offer them many opportunities to create a system that is more patient centered. The legislation has begun the long process of shifting the focus of the U.S. health care system away from acute and specialty care. Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression. The education system should provide nurses with the tools needed to evaluate and improve standards of patient care, and the quality and safety of care while preserving fundamental elements of nursing education, such as ethics and integrity and holistic, compassionate approaches to care.
The system should ensure nurses’ ability to adapt and be flexible in response to changes in science, technology, and population demographics that shape the delivery of care. An improved education system is necessary to ensure that the current and future generations of nurses can deliver safe, quality, patient-centered care across all settings, especially in such areas as primary care and community and public health. Enactment of the ACA offers a myriad of opportunities for the nursing profession to facilitate improvements to the health care system and the mechanisms by which care is delivered across various settings. System-wide changes are needed that capture the full economic value of nurses and take into account the growing body of evidence that links nursing practice to improvements in the safety and quality of care.
The Joint Commission, the leading independent accrediting body for health care organizations, believes that “the future state of nursing is inextricably linked to the strides in patient care quality and safety that are critical to the success of America’s health care system, today and tomorrow”. Given the crucial role of nurses with respect to the quality, accessibility, and value of care, the nursing profession itself must undergo a fundamental transformation if the committee’s vision for health care is to be realized.
The committee formulated four key messages for transforming the nursing profession: 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 professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States. Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and an improved information infrastructure.
A transformed system will need nurses with the adaptive capacity to take on reconceptualized roles in new settings, educating and reeducating themselves along the way- which are indispensible characteristics of effective leadership. Whether on the front lines, in education, or in administrative positions and health policy roles, nurses have the well-grounded knowledge base, experience, and perspective needed to serve as full partners in health care redesign. Nurses’ unique perspectives are derived from their experiences in providing direct, hands-on patient care; communicating with patients and their families about health status, medications, and care plans; and ensuring the linkage between a prescribed course of treatment and the desired outcome.
In care environments, being a full partner involves taking responsibility for identifying problems and areas of waste, devising and implementing a plan for improvement, tracking improvement over time, and making necessary adjustments to realize established goals. The transformation of nursing practice that results from the IOM’s Future of Nursing report recommendations will have a profound, long-term effect on the profession of nursing. Nursing informatics professionals are uniquely positioned to aide in this transformation, as the management of individual and organizational change is core to its practice.
By removing the barriers in the scope of education, implementing nurse residency programs, and building an infrastructure for the collection and analysis of interprofessional healthcare workforce data. . Technology will continue to be a fundamental enabler of future care delivery models and nursing informatics leaders will be essential to transforming nursing practice through technology. The following are the HIMSS recommendations for Nursing Informatics:
Partner with nurse executives to lead technology changes that advance health and the delivery of healthcare.
Support the development of informatics departments.
Foster the evolution of the Chief Nursing Informatics Officer role. Transform nursing education to include informatics competencies and demonstrable behaviors at all levels of academic preparation. Promote the continuing education at all levels of nursing, particularly in the areas of EHRs and health IT. Ensure that data, information, knowledge and wisdom form the basis of 21st century nursing practice by incorporating informatics competencies into practice standards in all healthcare settings. Facilitate the collection and analysis of interprofessional healthcare workforce data by ensuring data can be collected from existing heath IT systems.
The transformation of nursing practice that results from the IOM’s Future of Nursing report recommendations will have a profound, long-term effect on the profession of nursing.