In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change and Advancing Health, which explores how nurses' roles, responsibilities, and education should change significantly to meet the increased demand for care that will be created by healthcare reform.
The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) officially endorsed the IOM Future of Nursing Report, and emergency nurses across the country have been working hard toward the common goals of the report. The ENA represents more than 40,000 emergency nurses in the U.S. and abroad with expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness and nearly all aspects of emergency care.
The four main issues explored in the report 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 health care in the United States.
4. Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and information infrastructure.
Since then, the ENA has been following nurses' progress closely, and the IOM has issued a three-year update on the report. "Although we have made measurable progress in the past three years, we have more work to do to fully realize the potential of qualified nurses to improve health and provide care to people who need it," writes Harvey V. Fineberg, MD, PhD, president, IOM, and Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
One theme underscored in the IOM report is that nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training, and this depends on an improved nursing education system. Nurses need to know more and be better trained to provide care in a transformed system. The IOM report recommended increasing the proportion of nurses with a BSN to 80% by 2020. In 2010, the percentage of employed nurses with a BSN or higher degree was 49%, and as of 2011 that percentage had risen to 50%.
Another issue is the need for more nurses to provide leadership. Nurses exemplify the critical skills necessary for coordinating patient care. One key strategy to increase nurse leadership roles is to advocate for more nurses to serve on hospital boards.
As an emergency nurse, what future trends do you see on the horizon?