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The future of nursing

Nurses can and should be a major part of the redesign of healthcare in America, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The IOM, in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently released, “Future of Nursing: Leading the Change, Advancing Health,” the culmination of a two-year study of the nursing profession.

Too often, the report says, artificial barriers keep advanced practice nurses from practicing to their abilities. “The IOM report notes that the evidence regarding the safety and effectiveness of the care provided by these professionals is overwhelming and describes the numerous antiquated state and federal laws and regulations blocking the way,” said Lorrie Kaplan, CAE, executive director of the American College of Nurse Midwives. “It also describes the systems that reinforce turf battles and discrimination against entire groups of clinicians.”

While the report recommends that Medicare reimburse advanced practice nurses and physicians equally for equal work, it also recommends increased education and training for nurses, especially in the area of leadership. Nurses, the report says, should be full partners in redesigning healthcare — so “nursing education programs need to embed leadership-related competencies throughout…in order to assure that nurses are ready to assume leadership roles.”

Other recommendations include an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression and better data collection to facilitate future workforce planning and policy.

What do you think of the Report’s recommendations? Would you add any others?

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Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN

Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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