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The Institute of Medicine (IOM)'s new report, The Future of Nursing, Leading Change, Advancing Health is an "action-oriented blueprint" that resulted from a 2-year collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the IOM. The report delves into nurses' roles, responsibilities, and education, and recommends changes necessary to respond to the increasing demands on our healthcare system. The four key messages for nurses are:
1. Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training.
2. Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
3. Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health professionals, in redesigning healthcare in the United States.
4. Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and an improved information infrastructure.
The report makes a number of recommendations on how to achieve these changes (see the website under Resources).
Remember, we as nurses have the potential to make the biggest impact in changing the provision of healthcare. We are more than 3 million strong, making us the largest segment of the healthcare workforce. And we spend the greatest amount of time delivering care to our patients. As a profession we need to stand united and be leaders in changing the healthcare environment. The transformation is going to happen-the question is where will we as a profession be in leading the transformation?
If we don't control our practice, someone else will. If we stay focused on the goal of providing accessible, affordable, quality care, and promoting health, how can we go wrong? Once we as a profession are committed, we must collaborate with various levels of government, healthcare institutions, professional organizations, businesses, the insurance industry, educational institutions, licensing bodies, advocacy organizations, and other health professionals. But it all starts with each one of us taking responsibility for our own professional growth by advancing our professional education, assuring that we are clinically competent, and by developing and exercising our leadership skills.
Until the next time: be healthy, be happy, and be great advocates for your patients!!
AnneMarie Palatnik, MSN, RN, APN-BC
Director of Clinical Learning Center for Learning Virtua Health Mount Laurel, N.J. NursingCriticalCare@wolterskluwer.com
Institute of Medicine.
Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine; Institute of Medicine. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press; 2010. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12956.html.
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