The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is an American, not-for-profit, non-governmental, unaffiliated, organization created for the sole purpose to serve as an advisor to the government and every sector in society in order to make better informed health care decisions. Established in 1970 the IOM organization has been answering the nation’s most pressing questions about health care over the past 4 decades. October 5, 2010, the IOM in collaboration with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), released its recommendations on nursing in the United States. The report entitled, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” explore the need for health care nursing professionals to evolve and prepare for the dynamic work environment in which they will take part, providing an action-oriented blue print for the health care professional as a guide to practice (Institute of Medicine, 2010).
The IOM report continues to have an immense impact on nursing care today, transforming primary practice, education, and the leadership roles of health care provider. Within the IOM report, 4 key messages were provided as follows, 1. Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training. 2. Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression. 3. Nurses should be full partners with physicians and other health care professionals in redesigning healthcare in the U.S. 4. Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and an improved information infrastructure (Institute of Medicine, 2010, p. 4). On the grand scale, nursing is by far the largest force in health care, by sheer numbers the impact nurses make in health care is astounding. Nurses are vital to the change and success of health care reform.
The IOM cites the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a new law signed into effect March 23, 2010, by President Obama. The ACA allows the public better access to care, stronger Medicare, more affordable coverage, and stronger consumer rights and protections (THE WHITEHOUSE.GOV, n.d.). What The ACA means for nursing practice is, with insurance becoming more readily accessible to the public, it is inevitable that patient loads will increase causing a higher demand for educated and skilled nurses. New rules mandating patients and practitioners meeting face-to-face at the start of care and mandating regular check-ups as preventative care will also increase demand for nurses. To meet this growing need for health care professionals current and prospective providers look to provide motivation. Funding has been made available to nurses as an incentive to pursue advanced degrees and become lifelong learners by creating stricter regulation for continuing education requirements.
Employers are becoming extremely cognizant of the growing demand and are willing to provide career assistance, and tuition reimbursement in order to remain competitive in the healthcare industry as well as increase employee retention. Education is vital to achieve the goal of the IOM desiring to increase the number of BSN educated nurses from 50% to 80% by the year 2020(The Forum of Nursing Workforce Centers, 2012). With education, comes responsibility. As part of the vision of the IOM, nurses should become full partners in collaboration and shall become leaders, whether it be formal or informal. Leadership should be integrated in all aspects of nursing, “from the bedside to the boardroom” (Institute of Medicine, 2010, p. 221). Leaders aren’t just policy makers and managers anymore, they are mentors, teachers and advocates, for their patients as well as each other.
As leaders nurses should collaborate with multidisciplinary team members to provide safe and effective care, sharing their knowledge, skills and critical thinking expertise. Being an informal leader also involves mentoring peers and acting as a resource, fostering an environment conducive for growth and success as well as professional development. Addressing the call to action by changing practices to meet the recommendations is vital to the transformation of nursing. To meet this call to action, my first goal is to obtain my Bachelor of Science in nursing degree. Education is the foundation the gives us the ability to grow and thrive in our profession successfully.
I challenge myself to continue with my education and going forward continue on the path as a lifelong learner. I vow to seek opportunities available to me to enhance my knowledge and skill base whether it is through my employer, my state required continuing education credits (CEU’s), or a nursing organization such as my membership with the American Association of Critical Care nurses (AACN). I will continue to collaborate with all team members, be an advocate and to be a mentor and a resource to my peers, and promote education and learning through them as well. And finally I will accept this call to action by challenging my other peers and cohorts to do the same.
Institute of Medicine. (2010). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Retrieved from http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12956&page=R1 THE WHITEHOUSE.GOV. (n.d.). http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/healthcare-overview#healthcare-menu The Forum of Nursing Workforce Centers. (2012). http://nursingworkforcecenters.org/Resources/files/StateImpactOfIOMReportOnNursing.pdf