Nursing has been recognized as a profession almost for two hundred years now, a period over which essential rules and values of the work have been determined. This allows new nurses to rely on a solid foundation of experience built by the previous generations to deliver services of exceptional quality to all clients. Nevertheless, it is always crucial to look forward to the future and outline the path for further developing the discipline.
The 2010 report by the Institute of Medicine titled “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” attempts to offer a plan of action to respond to nursing’s current and future challenges. It postulates that nurses will have to evolve together with the transforming healthcare system to accommodate the aging and diverse populations’ needs and act as leaders in the new environment.
The first message conveyed by the authors of the report concerns the importance for nurses to utilize their education and training to the maximum extent in their practice. The changing environment of the healthcare system requires medical specialists to adjust to the growing ethnic and racial diversity among patients and the increasing number of the aging population (Institute of Medicine, 2011). This is significant for nurses since they are the most versatile professionals who will have to adopt innovative approaches to streamline processes in a clinical setting and provided better patient-oriented services.
The second message states that nursing specialists must receive advanced education and training through an education system that aims at seamless transition across programs of all levels and into practice. Education must consider the needs of the diverse patients and provided students with the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully assist this demographic (Institute of Medicine, 2011). This transformation is important because nursing education must become competency-based and lifelong and serve as a platform for a larger number of students to earn degrees and effectively apply their expertise.
The third message outlined in the reports talks about the leadership transformation, which implies that nurses have to assume leaders’ roles, which traditionally was not one of their responsibilities. Nurses must develop leadership competencies that would allow them to become full stakeholders in the healthcare system and influence processes that take place in this sphere (Institute of Medicine, 2011). This is crucial since more nurses should take part in politics and foster partnerships with government, businesses, and other organizations to promote the cause of more inclusive and patient-oriented healthcare.
The final message stresses the importance of information infrastructure and improved data collection for effective nursing workforce planning. There must be systems in place that would allow tracking of the current supply for nurses and other healthcare professionals. Such systems are vital because, based on their information, policymakers will be able to address existing shortages in the nursing workforce.
The report has directly affected nursing education, namely, the number of nurses with a bachelor of science in nursing degree has significantly increased over the last years, to 56% in 2017 (Stringer, 2019). BSN-prepared nurses possess competencies that allow them to transition to Master of Science in Nursing programs and have a mean salary of $66,316. Leadership is another crucial area that has been influenced by the report since it made more businesses recognize nurses as agents of change in healthcare. For example, Johnson & Johnson developed their Nurse Innovation Fellowship, which seeks to strengthen nurses’ leadership, entrepreneurial, and innovation skills (Johnson & Johnson, n.d.). This demonstrates how the report managed to attract attention to the necessity to transform nursing in different spheres.
The growing population of ethnically and racially diverse patients poses a challenge for education, which must become culturally conscious, and nurses who have to provide their clients with care that is culturally relevant. Similarly, nurses have to adapt to different scenarios of care for the aging demographic, including managing patients with chronic illnesses and palliative care, which requires broadening nurses’ scope of practice. Nursing education has to evolve to offer training in wellness, prevention, and chronic disease management, thus, nurses will have an opportunity to satisfy the needs of older patients.
Professional development must become a priority for every nurse seeking to provide care for diverse populations and across different health states. Nurses committed to constantly advancing their skills and knowledge will achieve better results in their practice and become invaluable professionals in their facilities. Diverse patients often have specific preferences, which can be met with the help of nurses who are ready to learn and receive relevant cultural competencies.
The transforming healthcare environment enables nurses to assume new roles and participate in innovative approaches to managing patients. One of them is the Agile Team model, which implies creating teams that include registered and professional nurses and other providers who, by working together, can ensure more effective care for patients. This model involves daily planning meetings and provides better productivity and flexibility for the staff, giving them more time to spend with other patients.
The “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” report states that nurses will have to assume leadership roles and gain new competencies to adapt to the changing healthcare environment. Nurses will have to use their expertise to the maximum capacity to provide culturally relevant care to patients. Nursing education must offer all the necessary knowledge and skills as part of nursing training for students to gain such expertise.
Leadership must play a vital role in nurses’ careers who should act beyond the limits of medical facilities to deliver excellent services to patients. Nurses also must be prepared to care for the aging population, which is growing in numbers, and be able to work with older people in different settings. By embracing innovative ways of providing care, nurses will become agents of change in the evolving healthcare environment.
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. National Academies Press.
Johnson & Johnson. (n.d.). Johnson & Johnson nurse innovation fellowship. Web.
Stringer, H. (2019). IOM future of nursing report card: Progress after 10 years. Web.