In 2008, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to form an initiative on the future of nursing. The RWJF is an independent organization that focuses on healthcare innovations and programs such as childhood obesity, health coverage, and public health. The IOM is a non-government resource that assists the government and private agencies in making informed decisions about healthcare issues (“ISNA bulletin,” 2011, p. 11). This 2 year study focused on the current state of healthcare, specifically nursing, and provided recommendations to improve the nursing profession and enhance the infrastructure of healthcare.
Key points were safety, technology, and interdisciplinary collaboration of practice. The study focused on nursing education, practice, and nursing’s role of leadership (Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine [RWJF], 2011). The focus on education was primarily driven to advance the educational system and to further advance nursing care in the changing face of healthcare reforms.
The study showed that nurses have a significant impact in healthcare, with more than 3 million members; they are posed to generate a large role in the reform of the healthcare system (Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine [RWJF], 2011). The IOM strives to achieve higher levels of education through improved educational systems. Nurses are encouraged to practice to the full extent of their education and training. The IOM initiative is promoting removal of the barriers that are in place regarding scopes of practice for advanced practice nurses and to standardize the scope of practice delineations across state lines. The report recommends support of nursing education and programs expanded to graduate
more upper level nurses who will then focus on becoming educators. The goal of the IOM is to have 80% more baccalaureate prepared nurses by 2020. By increasing the number of nursing programs that are now in place and changing those from purely traditional learning to a hybrid of traditional and innovative or online programs more nurses will graduate with higher degrees. Intensifying the traditional curriculum to include interprofessional collaboration, communication, and systems thinking helps to encourage higher level thinking and superior leadership skills. Additionally encouraging nurses to engage in lifelong learning to retain and renew competencies is very important; the competencies should be relative to the knowledge, experience, and practice of the nurse.
Another part of the education process is the implementation of nurse residency programs. These programs are important because it takes time and experience for a nurse to become fully prepared to be functional in the acute care setting and these new opportunities will encourage the nurses to stay at the institution. This IOM report has a tremendous impact on nursing practice, particularly in primary care with the focus being on increasing nursing education to provide higher quality care for the patients. Keeping up with facility and national competencies is important to ensure that the nurse’s practice is up to date and current. Improved technology also increases the nurse’s efficiency and the amount of time that the nurse is able to spend with their patients. Additionally, this helps with the education of the patient because when the nurse is able to spend more time with the patient more effective teaching is done. Patient safety is one of the most important parts of nursing and by utilizing education as well as technology nurses are able to prevent critical errors and maintain patient safety more effectively.
With the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) traditional healthcare is evolving to patient centered care delivered in the community rather than in the acute care setting. Advanced practice nurses will have a bigger “voice” in the community and an enormous impact on healthcare. This will impact me in my nursing facility because as I am better educated and up to date on my competencies, my patients are safer, I am utilizing the most recent technology in caring for them, and therefore providing them the best and safest care. The IOM report is describing an ideal world where nurses are significant as leaders, in a partnership with physicians and other healthcare professionals, in redesigning the healthcare system. To accomplish this reform, nurses must be educated as leaders by focusing on communication, professionalism, interprofessional collaboration and decision making (“ISNA bulletin,” 2011, p. 12).
The nurse should be actively involved in identifying problems, collaborating with the physicians to seek solutions, and be committed to providing safe and effective healthcare to the patients and community. Leadership also plays an active role in policy making, institutional model development, and improving work processes. Nurses, with their backgrounds in patient care, have a unique understanding of patient well-being, institutional policies, and flow of the healthcare team which helps them to be on the forefront of change. In closing, the IOM report is a detailed description of recommendations that describe how nurses can and should be actively participating in the healthcare reform. It is time for a change and nurses have the opportunity and responsibility to participate in these transformational changes. Education, leadership, changes in nursing practice, and collaboration of the healthcare team are the keys to change.
Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine. (2011). Institute of Medicine. [Article]. Retrieved from http://iom.edu/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2010/The-Future-of-Nursing/Future%20o Fights, S. D. (2012, March/April). Nurses Lead From Where We Stand: How Can You Impact the Future Of Nursing? [Article]. MEDSURG Nursing, 21(2), 57-58. Retrieved from http://library.gcu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=74576360&site=eds-live&scope=site“>Nurses Lead from Where We Stand: How Can You Impact the Future of Nursing?
IOM Report on the Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. [Journal article]. (2011, January 11). Med-Surg Matters, 1, 3. Retrieved from http://library.gcu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rzh&AN=2010978901&site=eds-live&scope=site”>IOM Report on the Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Visioning the future of nursing: analysis of the IOM/RWJ foundation report [independent study]. (2011, august, September, October). Indiana State
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