The nursing profession is believed to count more than three million workers in national health care. It is stated that “nurses are particularly well-positioned to address social determinants of health, due to their legacy of considering the physical and social environments of patients, caring expertise, and history of community public health” (Ogbolu, Ford, Cohn, & Gillespie, 2017, p. 2). Therefore, the report called The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which was released in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) played a significant role in the improvement of medical care in the United States.
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It is a general opinion that the health care system changes too rapidly, preventing nurses from the ability to respond to its novel demands. Some researchers state that “for more than four decades, RWJF has been committed to improving the health and healthcare of all Americans by addressing the social obstacles to individuals, families, and communities” (Polansky, Gorski, Green, Perez, & Wise, 2017, p. 3). In 2008, a two-year initiative was launched by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the IOM to conduct research according to the current needs of assessing and transforming the nursing profession. The Committee was appointed by the IOM to create a report with the recommendations towards further development of nursing. The committee estimated the education level and work environment of the nurses, as well as their competences. During the study, four key issues were developed to present in the report the recommendations for solving them.
It is stated that “because licensing and practice rules vary across states, the regulations regarding scope-of-practice have varying effects on different types of nurses in different parts of the country” (Shalala, Bolton, Bleich, Brennan, Campbell, Devlin, & Harris, 2011, p. 2). Thus, the tasks that a nurse is allowed to practice are regulated by state law without taking into account the education. The report provided some recommendations to federal legislators as to allowing nurses to practice according to their training and education. Residency programs were recommended to use to reduce the turnover of young nurses. The study of a nursing education also showed that it had to be improved, providing nurses with new skills such as leadership, research, and teamwork. The promotion of leaders in the nursing profession proves to be the base for future collaboration of nurses with physicians as full partners. It was emphasized that “planning for fundamental, wide-ranging changes in the education and deployment of the nursing workforce will require comprehensive data on the numbers and types of health professionals currently available and required to meet future needs” (Shalala et al., 2011, p. 3). Therefore, this report greatly influenced the efforts to improve and transform the health care system in the United States.
The IOM report initialized the foundation of Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action (CFA) which is known for its attempts to implement the recommendations given in it as a part of a national medical strategy. This campaign involves all the states contributing to the implementation of improvements in the health care system through the leaders among nursing professionals. It is noted that “nurse leaders and others are executing strategies from that report that will enhance the leadership capacity of nurses and convince other health care stakeholders to recognize the value of nurse leaders” (Polansky et al., 2017, p. 1). The report also caused the foundation of Nurse Funders’ Network to support the research topics that might assist the implementation of the provided recommendations. The future of nurses’ research was described in the report as a crucial point for the improvement of the health care system. Moreover, it is expected that the number of nurses with a doctoral degree should be doubled by 2020. Thus, the nurses are encouraged to conduct studies and improve their skills and educational level, which is a part of the national medical policy.
It is generally recognized that “nurses have a fundamental knowledge of health care delivery and care across the continuum, and health care policymaking suffers without this knowledge” (Polansky et al., 2017, p. 2). The IOM report proved this statement recognizing the importance of encouraging leadership skills among nursing professionals. The CFA is the main organization that emphasizes the development of awareness about the value of leadership and positive relationship with key colleagues in the health care system. The improvement of national medical care should involve collaboration between consumers, nurses, and state and national health care organizations. The shortages in the medical workforce had a great impact on the wellness of many citizens in the United States as they had to wait for many weeks for an appointment and faced other barriers in having access to medical services. Therefore, the experience of the nurses might be helpful in the transformation launched to improve the level of the medical system.
The development of the action coalitions (AC) in all the states including the District of Columbia has helped the CFA to implement the agenda built on the cultivation of leaders among nurses. Some researchers note that the structure of these action coalitions “promotes nurse leadership and gives nurses valuable experience in building and leading new entities because each AC is co-led by a nurse and a colleague who is not a nurse” (Polansky et al., 2017, p. 3). Moreover, in many states, it was usually a nurse who dealt with all the organizational issues and partner recruitment that led to the creation of the coalition. In 2012, the CFA launched National Leadership Meetings resulting in collaboration of more than 35 ACs that participate in various leadership programs and initiatives which vary from state to state. These meetings helped them to gain support from the experts on the national level and get opportunities to collaborate with them on the development of a national strategy to support nursing leaders.
Nowadays, every state-based coalition has its unique goals and initiatives. For example, the AC in Florida spearheads the initiative of obtaining nurse leader recognition and building a more diverse workforce in the health care system. It is stated that “a full 83 percent of nurses are white, and about 90 percent are female” (“Building a more diverse nursing workforce,” 2017, para. 1). Therefore, the action coalition works on promoting the hiring of a diverse workforce to guarantee competent care based on cultural differences and reduce disparities in the medical system. It is pointed out that health care disparities still exist despite the efforts to eliminate them. Certain ethnic groups are believed to get health care of a lower quality, which results in worse health of those people. Therefore it is important for nurses to participate in creating the culture of health and providing competent care based on the cultural diversities. There are many diverse leaders among the nurses in Florida, and the coalition is encouraging others to develop theirs. It is emphasized that “this spring, the Florida Action Coalition hosted a roundtable to further develop and disseminate these strategies gathering input from members of the Philippine Nurses Association of America Northeast Florida” (“Building a more diverse nursing workforce,” 2017, para. 10).
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Therefore, the report issued by the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) in 2010 played a significant role in the improvement of medical care in the United States. It emphasized the key role of nurses as future leaders and researchers in the field of health care. It also caused the outspread and activity of various organizations, implementing the provided recommendations.
Building a more diverse nursing workforce. (2017). Web.
Ogbolu, Y., Ford, J., Cohn, E., & Gillespie, G. L. (2017). Nurses on the move: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation nurse faculty scholars and their action on the social determinants of health. Ethnicity & Health, 1(1), 1-11.
Polansky, P., Gorski, M. S., Green, A., Perez, G. A., & Wise, R. P. (2017). Nurses leading change to advance health. Nursing Outlook, 1(1), 1-7.
Shalala, D., Bolton, L. B., Bleich, M. R., Brennan, T. A., Campbell, R. E., Devlin, L., & Harris, C. M. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 1(1), 1-4.