Nursing Goals in the Institute of Medicine’s Report


The field of nursing has been evolving over the last decade to meet the increasing and changing societal health needs. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a special report to address the role of nurses in the fast-changing health care industry. The concept of patient-based care requires nurses to offer services tailored to accommodate the unique needs of patients. Therefore, to achieve this transformative approach to nursing, nurses need to rethink their roles in providing care to diverse populations. This paper focuses on the IOM 2010 report’s key highlights which include education, the nursing practice, and the role of nurses as leaders.

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Impact of IOM on Nursing Education

The IOM report notes that the nursing profession is undergoing fundamental changes that will require the rethinking of nursing education. According to the report, nurses’ job requirements will expand to include unrelated disciplines like management concepts (Shaffer, Davis, To Dutka, & Richardson, 2014). The job entry behavior will also change to favor nurses with baccalaureate degrees in nursing. The proposal to increase the number of nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing to 80 percent by the year 2020 means that diploma and associate degrees may not meet the qualification requirements to enter the profession. Similarly, nurses will have to pursue masters and doctorate degrees in nursing as the skills and experience that comes with such level of education will be needed to address emerging care needs. The report urges nurses to create a culture of lifelong learning as a way of being prepared to deal with a changing work environment and patient needs (Shaffer et al., 2014). In addition, the profession will be subjected to new regulatory requirements and oversight to ensure the provision of quality care. Consequently, licensing and accreditation standards will be raised to let in qualified nurses based on established core skills and competencies. In addition, more minority nurses will be needed in the practice as they are normally underrepresented. Therefore, nursing education will undergo fundamentals changes to reflect the dynamics of the practice in the contemporary world.

Impact on Nursing Practice

According to the report, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 necessitates a shift from acute and specialty care to primary care (Kunic & Jackson, 2013). The aging baby boomer generation also underscores the increasing need for primary care in the nursing profession. In addition, due to the Act, most people are now insured including minority populations thus adding to the burden of primary care. The report notes that primary care physicians will also be in high demand moving forward. Policies and regulations will affect primary care significantly. For instance, VA nursing is being used in primary care provision in all settings whether in outpatient or inpatient. In addition, VA nurses act as educators and researchers. The patient-centered concept in primary care has occasioned the expansion of nurse roles. Overall, shift to primary care provision in the nursing profession has improved health outcomes and patients are highly satisfied with the quality and timely services that they get. Therefore, as a nurse, I will have to change my practice and focusing on primary care needs by acquiring the requisite skills and certification as part of the IOM goals.

Impact on the Nurse’s Role as a Leader

The changing work environment requires nurses to work with teams from diverse disciplines. For instance, as noted earlier, working in a business set-up will be a requirement for nurses as the health care industry continues to evolve. The IOM report encourages nurses to view themselves as partners in the provision of quality care in a dynamic world. As leaders, nurses should be in a position to communicate, network, and function in teams from all health care sectors and beyond (Salmond & Echevarria, 2017). The report notes that the traditional perception that nurses are just facilitators of health care provision will change as professionals in this field assume more leadership roles and positions. Nurse leaders will be involved in policy-making processes in committees, boards, and commissions and thus shape the future of the profession (Salmond & Echevarria, 2017). In addition, nurse leaders will be expected to oversee the designing and implementation of policy reforms in the sector coupled with being advocates for the same inside and outside the nursing field. Similarly, nurses as leaders will be required to be proactive and innovative to come up with ways through which quality care can be improved continuously. Financial acumen will also be needed in the sector to ensure that the available resources are utilized properly while business-oriented nurses will identify opportunities to further the quality of care. Overall, nurse leaders will be required to have leadership competencies and qualities in the quest to foster the nursing vocation.


The IOM report of 2010 envisioned a future where nursing would undergo constant changes to accommodate emerging patient needs and industry dynamics. Therefore, nurses should be lifelong learners to keep abreast with information and trends in the field. A bachelor’s degree in nursing will be the minimum requirement for one to join the profession as a registered nurse. On the other side, the focus is now shifting to primary care occasioned by increasing needs for such services. Ultimately, nurses will have to take up leadership roles and drive the reform agenda towards the provision of quality care in a dynamic environment.


Kunic, R., & Jackson, D. (2013). Transforming nursing practice: Barriers and solutions. AORN Journal, 98(3), 235-248.

Salmond, S. W., & Echevarria, M. (2017). Healthcare transformation and changing roles for nursing. Orthopedic Nursing, 36(1), 12–25.

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Shaffer, F., Davis, R., To Dutka, J., & Richardson, D. (2014). The future of nursing: Domestic agenda, global implications. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 25(4), 388-94.

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