The future of nursing in meeting heightened demands in healthcare

Research!America

Nurses make up the largest segment of the healthcare profession, with approximately 3 million registered nurses in the U.S., and face challenges in a rapidly changing healthcare environment.  A report released December 4 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Assessing Progress on the Institute of Medicine Report The Future of Nursing, shows significant progress over the last five years in transforming the nursing profession to adapt to an increasingly complex health care system.

The report is an assessment of progress with implementing recommendations in the 2010 IOM report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health which called for increasing the proportion of nurses with baccalaureate degrees, doubling the number of nurses with doctorates by 2020, removing scope-of-practice barriers, and empowering nurses to lead healthcare delivery.

To help meet these goals, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action in partnership with AARP, establishing Action Coalitions across the U.S. to galvanize the nursing community. Overall, the campaign met or exceeded expectations in many areas of the original recommendations, according to the new report. However, continued progress will require greater focus and effort in certain areas, including removing scope-of-practice barriers, strengthening pathways to higher education, increasing diversity in the workforce, building a broader coalition to expand nurses’ roles in health professions and leadership, and improving the collection of workforce-related data. 

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