Discussing the Work of the R. W. J. F. Committee Initiative on the Future of Nursing
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted a two-year study that focused on transforming the nursing profession (Altman, Butler, & Shern, 2016). The committee was primarily tasked with assessing the current nursing needs and coming up with ways of making the profession of nursing more relevant to the current nursing needs. According to Child (2004), nurses are no longer the assistant to doctors as was the case in the past.
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Their role has changed to that of partners of the doctors who have to work as a unit, share ideas, and come up with comprehensive ways of helping their patients. Nurses in modern hospitals find themselves in positions where they have to make decisions that can spare the lives of their patients in the absence of the doctors. However, the conventional nursing curriculum is yet to acknowledge the new role of nurses in modern society. It means that in most of the cases the graduates of nursing schools lack the capacity to undertake nursing roles as expected of them in modern society.
In this initiative, the committee conducted a detailed analysis of the changing nursing environment and the current systems put in place to help the nurses undertake their duties in the best way possible. The committee identified a gap that they suggested should be addressed in order to have nurses who can work as expected in the modern nursing environment. The members of this committee were convinced that the only way of finding a lasting solution to this problem is to start by reviewing and revising the curriculum.
As Hunt (2015) says, nurses, learn a lot in their practical experience after graduating from nursing colleges. However, they need to have a foundation that will help them understand what to expect and how to deal with issues in their workplace environment. They have to understand that their roles as nurses go beyond receiving and following instructions from doctors. These nurses must realize that they are decision-makers and that their decisions determine their ability of their patients to get better.
The committee also made it clear that it was necessary to review and redesign policies that guide the workplace environment for nurses. Training these nurses on how to be decision-makers and then placing them in environments where they have to follow instructions from others makes it impossible to achieve the desired objectives. Policies should be changed so that nurses are allowed to work in environments that will facilitate their growth and development.
The team also suggested the need to bring all stakeholders on board when transforming this sector. Nurses alone cannot bring the desired change. They need to work together with various stakeholders to realize the dream of transforming the nursing profession. Through a collaborative approach, it becomes easy to address some of the challenges that the nursing profession faces in the current environment.
Importance of the IOM “Future of Nursing” Report
The IOM report on the future of nursing is very important in various areas. According to Goudreau and Smolenski (2014), if this report is implemented appropriately, it will transform nursing education. In the United States, several studies have indicated that what nurses learn in colleges is not congruent with what is expected of them in practice. Trying to solve the problem through experience is not appropriate enough. The best way of dealing with this problem is to transform the nursing curriculum and ensure that graduates from nursing schools have the right knowledge and skills needed in practice.
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The report will also play an important role in ensuring that nursing practice is transformed in the country. The nurses will have better skills and knowledge than what the current nursing graduates have. It means that they will be better equipped to deal with the challenges and forces that they shall face in the workplace. Nurses will also be working in a better environment where policies acknowledge their new roles and responsibilities in their places of work. As Hunt (2015) says, nurses will be empowered.
The report will also help in promoting nursing workforce development. It is true that the best way of addressing the problem is to start by changing the nursing curriculum. However, we have to appreciate that the currently practicing nurses, some of whom will be working for the next thirty years as nurses, may not benefit from the changed curriculum unless they go back for higher education. The report proposed in-house training that may help such nurses adjust their skills and capabilities to be in line with the nursing needs. The nursing workforce will generally have improved capacity. They will be able to deliver better services than what they currently offer.
Role of State-Based Action Coalitions
State-based action coalitions play a very important role in advancing the goals of Future Nursing. The State of Florida has a number of state-based action coalitions meant to help promote the quality of healthcare services in the country. Collaboration and diversity are some of the initiatives that the state has been championing in the recent past. The collaboration of various stakeholders in offering quality healthcare services advances the nursing profession.
The support that nurses get from other responsible stakeholders makes their work easy. Understanding diversity in the workplace also enhances their skills to work with patients from diversified backgrounds. In the State of Florida, the biggest challenge in successfully undertaking these initiatives is the current policies. The state has made positive steps towards having policies that are in line with the emerging nursing trends. However, a lot still remains to be done.
Nurses are yet to be fully empowered based on the existing policies in this state. In most of the hospitals, nurses have to wait for medical doctors to make a decision even in cases of emergency. It does not matter how experienced the nurse is or whether or not such a nurse knows what should be done. Goudreau and Smolenski (2014) say that such policies are retrogressive and are not in line with the emerging nursing needs.
Nursing advocates can overcome these barriers by demanding policy change. Nurses should be specialized, just like medical doctors. Having specialized nurses will ensure that they have knowledge of what they are dealing with and have the capacity to make the right decisions. They will not only be relying on their experience when making these decisions but also on their knowledge learned in the colleges. These advocates should demand that nurses should be assigned specifically to their area of specialization to enhance their skills. It is through such initiative that the state will have nurses capable of delivering quality services as expected of them.
Altman, S., Butler, A., & Shern, L. (2016). Assessing progress on the Institute of Medicine report the future of nursing. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.
Child, A. (2004). Keeping patients safe: transforming the work environment of nurses. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.
Goudreau, A., & Smolenski, C. (2014). Health policy and advanced practice nursing: impact and implications. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Hunt, H. (2015). The nurse professional: leveraging your education for transition into practice. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.