Professional Development – Future of Nursing and Iom Report

In 2008, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) launched an initiative to assess and reform the nursing profession to address the complex unique nursing needs for the current world. The IOM report published in 2010 calls on nurses to take greater role in the healthcare system by taking leadership roles and obtaining high level education. The report envisions nurses to use their full potential and attain academic progression to redesign the healthcare profession in United States.

The Impact of IOM Report on Future of Nursing The IOM report delivers the following key messages to the world about the future of nursing (IOM Report, 2010): 1.

Nurses should receive high levels of education 2. Nursing practice should be optimized to its full extent 3. Nurses should be partners in designing the healthcare system Nursing Education The IOM report in 2010 emphasizes the importance of nursing education to handle increasing complexity of care and to assume greater responsibilities for nurses in the future.

Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through baccalaureate and doctoral education programs (IOM Report, 2010).

The report suggests for 80% of the current RNs to have baccalaureate degree by 2020. The primary objective of nursing education is to prepare nurses to meet the patient needs and deliver safe and quality patient care. In future nursing graduates should get prepared to work with other health care professionals in any given settings including but not limited to primary care, acute care, long term care and specialty practices.

Based on the IOM report the nursing education will take a shift to attain competencies in leadership, health policy, system improvement, research and evidence based practice, team work and collaboration and information management systems.

In the future we need to have nurses educated with latest technological advancement and applications in nursing practice. This will help nurses to meet the increased and complex patient care system in the future.

In the future nurses will have to face complex care situations in hospitals and should take critical lifesaving decisions with the help of technology and information management systems which requires analytical and synthetic skills. A baccalaureate or doctoral degree will help nurses to master the domain with more than basic knowledge of patient care. Nursing Practice Attaining a high level of education will improve the healthcare system only if nurses are fully utilizing their knowledge and abilities.

Many times nurses face challenges in exercising their abilities and knowledge due to institutional policies or government regulations, For current and future needs we need to enable all healthcare professionals especially nurses to practice to the full level of their education and training. Advanced practice nurses can fulfill the primary care needs. This will free up physicians to address more complex cases which needs their expertise.

Current practice focus on specialty and acute care only and a shift in practice to deliver more primary care and community care services is essential to improve the quality of nursing care and address the growing need of care in these areas. Involvement of nurses in patient care substantially improves the quality of care and reduces medical errors. A study conducted by RWJF at John Hopkins University has found significant reduction in blood stream infection can be achieved by nurses leading the infection control effort. INQRI, 2010b; Marsteller et al. , 2010). We need to have consistent nursing practice laws which will enable nurses to practice at the full extent of their education and training. Nursing Leadership The great shift in education and practice level of nurses that reach across disciplines require a great amount of mutual respect, team work, collaboration and communication. Today we have very limited participation from the nursing community in hospital boards when compared with other health care professionals (6% when physicians accounts for 20%).

Nurses can bring to the table significant point of views which will improve the patient care environments. Nurses works very closely with patients and they will have more valuable views that need to be heard at a leadership level. Nurses can develop a deeply satisfying organizational culture by engaging all staffs in the development of shared values in their work. This will be a major change from the order taking style to a partnership style where they engage in improving the motivation, morale and performance of collaborating groups.

Read also: Competencies Between Nurses Prepared at Associate Degree Level vs Baccalaureate Degree Level

Researches show that effective communication and coordination among health care professionals can improve the quality and safety of patient care. Future nurses need to have competencies of a common set which includes knowledge of patient care delivery systems, team work, collaboration across disciplines, ethical care and foundations for safety and quality improvements (AACN, 2008).. They also should possess more specific competencies to become full partners of the health team where each professional from various discipline hold accountable for the quality and safety of patient care and patient satisfaction.

Now we have an opportunity to transform the health care system and nurses are expected to play pivotal role in this transformation. Nurses will be playing a critical role in the healthcare leadership to bring in most valuable information to improve the patient care and patient satisfaction. The united and integrated team work of various parties involved will ensure that the healthcare system provides a transparent, affordable safe and quality care that is available to all.


Hendren, R (2010) IOM Report Offers Glimpse of Nursing’s Future Retrieved from Growing Future Nurse Leaders to Build and Sustain Healthy Work Environments at the Unit Level. Retrieved from IOM Report (2010) The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Retrieved from

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