The Future Of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health
We are in a decade of change, as nurses we are set to be challenge on many levels in order to face these challenges we must all prepared. Recently the Institute of Medicine, 2010 (IOM, 2010) released a report on the future of nursing; its content outlines in great detail what changes will take place. A collaboration of many offered their expertise in and out of the field of nursing and how the following three areas may be enhanced or completely changed.
This writer will attempt to give a single perspective on the issues of Education, leadership and practice and how they may be transformed over the next decade. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health There have been many discussions by the IOM over the years about the impact of nurses on the care of patients and the obvious need for change. The pending arrival of the affordable care act (ACA) has propelled many of those changes to the forefront; we must remain steadfast in our goal to provide quality care to that patient who depends on us.
When the implementation of transformation becomes not only a report but reality can and will it free us as patient care providers to offer a more advanced method of care? Transforming Education This initial goal will remain intact according to the opinion of the IOM report, that all nurses must be prepared to meet a diverse patient population. With that goal in mind the report indicates that educational requirements for the registered nurse (RN) will ultimately be geared towards higher degree attainment by the practicing nurse.
Currently the pathways that are in place to obtain a nursing degree will not change but the nurse will be placed on a course to continue their education goals beyond that of and associate degree (ADN). The goal will be to enhance the programs in place and prepare the student nurse for a place in an undergraduate program; a plan to make that goal possible for all is also a need that the IOM report mentions as the current barrier. Affordability of nursing programs beyond that of the ADN now seems to be the greatest challenge; can these entities create such a pathway?
Another proposal that this reader found interesting on education transformation, was the pathway for an increase in masters and doctoral degrees to increase the volume of prepared faculty. The current issues that are being faced now is that of faculty shortages in many of the nursing programs both at community and undergraduate campus’s. The ACA has what is noted as an incentive to offset lower faculty salaries which would provide up to $35,000 in loan repayments for eligible nurses who seek to complete advanced degrees. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act HR 3590, 2010). With such incentives in place this pathway may be considered as a means to an end in the advancement of education by the career oriented nurse, creating leaders is the way to create change. Transforming Leadership The IOM also reflects on the importance of nurses taking a stronger position in leadership. It is time for nurses to take a place at the table of change, that misconception that we are in place to perform and not create will soon be eradicated.
The report indicated there is a lack of nurse participation on many directorial boards this is a reason to transform. The placement of these programs is fundamental (Institute of Medicine [IOM, 2010],) to increasing nurse participation. It is true some leaders are born into their roles but not all and with the implementation of these leadership programs this writer believes future leaders can be created. The creation of mentorship programs is also a way to create leaders, as nurses we must make room for those coming up behind us and nurture the leader that lies in us all.
This writer found the idea of creating training programs for nurses to represent us on the political front was the finest of all the recommendations, as nurses we must incite change at the very top and creating voices of change on this level would be an incomparable transformation. The ability to have our contributions heard and implemented will create a movement that will carry nursing forward and upward, can we be the voice of the idea and transformation of nursing practice?
Transforming Practice. Our scope of practice dictates the boundaries for which we practice, the idea of the IOM report indicate as nurses we must be able to practice to the fullest potential of our educational backgrounds. This is especially important for the advanced practice nurse (NP), their roles must be universally defined for the future. The increase in patient population will see an upsurge in patient load with a shortage of primary care givers and this can only be disastrous for those seeking care.
Creating a universal scope of practice for NP will eliminate this issue and it must happen now. The report indicated the barrier to this was the apprehension of acceptance by physicians; can we change a lifelong idea? As this writer has assessed all the pending changes it was asked how these changes will affect the ability to offer care, it is believed that higher education will create a more diverse approach to care and as a patient educator this is key to this nurse’s specialty.
As for the other notations regarding care and leadership, this writer believes leadership roles will enhance the confidence of the role of the patient educator, finally increasing the quality of care provided. Conclusion In closing a transformation of change can only happen with the active participation of all nurses, we must become active in every facet of our future and not leave it up to others to speak on our behalf.