The Institute of Medicine (“IOM”) created a report after an extensive study that identified gaps in healthcare delivery services. The report was crafted with an eye on the role of nurses in improving the health care delivery process. The IOM report highlighted the key recommendations in improving the education, training, and the removal of barriers that prevented the full utilization of nursing skills when it comes to solving health care delivery issues. It is important to consider three critical areas:
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- nursing education;
- nursing practice;
- leadership roles to understand the future of nursing practitioners in the health care industry.
Institute of Medicine Report on Education
The proponents behind the IOM report saw the negative impact of the lack of qualified nurses serving as health care workers in clinics and hospitals. Thus, one of the key recommendations emphasized in the report was the pooling of resources and enhancing the collaboration of government agencies to increase the number of working nurses armed with a baccalaureate degree. It is easy to understand the purpose of this recommendation because it is in response to the failure to improve the quality of care as a direct result of a shortage of talent and skills. A pronounced deficiency in the availability of skilled personnel exacerbated health care delivery problems. Nurses with college degrees are needed over those with minimal credentials. They are in demand and preferred than nursing practitioners equipped only with knowledge and skills that they acquired after completing only an associate or diploma degree (Cowen & Moorhead, 2011).
It does not require a brain surgeon to realize that better opportunities await those with a baccalaureate degree as opposed to nurses armed with a diploma only. However, the cost of pursuing higher levels of education made it impossible for many nurses to acquire this type of qualification. The proponents behind the IOM report understand the predicament of many nurses. Thus, in the said report, they also included recommendations that discussed the viability of using tuition reimbursements as a means to entice nurses to go through a baccalaureate nursing program a few years after they earned their associate or diploma degree. The said report impacts nursing education not only in terms of the need to acquire higher skills for all nursing practitioners but also in the area of workforce diversity. In the said report, a section highlighted the selection of nursing candidates coming from different social backgrounds. This is one way of ensuring the capability to meet the demands of a diversified society.
Institute of Medicine Report on Practice
Increasing opportunities for continuous learning was not the only recommendation in the said IOM report. One section also discussed recommendations regarding the evolving nature of the nursing practice. The advocates behind the new initiative cited the necessity in applying the skills needed for the diffusion of collaborative improvement efforts. As a result, nursing practitioners are compelled to work closely with physicians and other health care workers for data collection, redesigning practice environments, and in diffusing successful practices (National Academies, 2010, p.2). The future of nursing practice requires the ability to engage in multiple roles. In this regard, it is not enough to only focus on assisting the process of health care delivery, because nurses are also expected to observe the applications of certain procedures and make contributions to improve the same.
To accomplish the goal set by the IOM, present-day nurses must acquire new sets of skills. Enhanced capabilities in terms of data collection, observation skills, and writing reports must come together to help in coming up with new ideas and recommendations on how to improve current practice environments (Grove, Gray, & Burns, 2015). It is also imperative to acquire enhanced communication skills for knowledge transfers and the necessity of establishing new work cultures.
Institute of Medicine Report on Leadership Roles
Gone are the days when nursing practitioners are expected to assume passive roles (Grossman, 2013). Due to drastic measures needed to overhaul a broken health care system, nurses are called upon to make significant contributions. They can’t make recommendations and engage in knowledge transfers if they are on the sidelines. They need to take up leadership roles. They need to learn how to form teams and direct these teams to accomplish a particular goal.
Strengthening the leadership capabilities of nurses requires a change of attitude. Nurses also need to change the way they perceive the work environment. At the same time, relevant learning institutions and accreditation agencies must strive to develop effective learning programs to cultivate leadership skills among nursing practitioners.
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The IOM report made recommendations aimed at improving the current health care delivery mechanisms. At the heart of these recommendations was the call to improve the capabilities and expand the responsibilities of nurses. As a result, the report identified the need to increase the number of nursing practitioners with baccalaureate degrees. There is also a need for nurses to engage health workers and stakeholders in a leadership capacity. These enhanced leadership roles and capabilities are needed for the improvement of practice environments. These changes are also needed for the diffusion of effective practices. In the end, nursing schools are compelled to evaluate the goals and aspirations of present-day learning institutions, because these organizations are responsible for helping future nurses acquire the necessary skills and attitude required in the effective delivery of health care services to a diversified society.
Cowen, P., & Moorhead, S. (2011). Current issues in nursing. St. Louis, MO: Mosby-Elsevier.
Grossman, S. (2013). Mentoring in nursing: A dynamic and collaborative process. New York, NY: Springer.
Grove, S., Gray, J., & Burns, N. (2015). Understanding nursing research: Building an evidence-based practice. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier-Saunders.
National Academies. (2010). The future of nursing leading change, advancing health. Web.