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Professional Development of Nursing Professionals


Nursing, as one of the most important professions in human society, requires a large number of skills and dedication to learning. The intricacies of providing care demand a wide variety of knowledge including both physical and mental training. The report made by the Institute of Medicine outlines the ways to improve the profession in response to the increasing demands of the American healthcare system. This paper aims to analyze the impact of the report and its messages on nursing and to discuss the various issues pertaining to the topic.

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The messages of the report and their impact

There are four core messages dedicated to transforming the current nursing practice outlined in the report. Firstly, the skills acquired by nurses in their training should be used more efficiently, with nurses occupying a wider range of roles and spending less time on preparation and documentation (IOM, 2010). The paper suggests that nurses should “create, serve in, and disseminate reconceptualized roles to bridge whatever gaps remain between coverage and access to care.” (IOM, 2010, pp. 31). Secondly, the authors accentuate the need to improve education for the profession. Nursing schools do not have the capacity to educate the number of qualified individuals they receive, and “nurses at all levels have few incentives to pursue further education, and face active disincentives to advanced education” (IOM, 2010, pp. 32). The third message of the paper is that nurses should take on a more active role in redesigning the healthcare system, similar to other health professionals. Authors state that due to their large knowledge pool and a wide range of direct work experience, nurses would offer a unique perspective on the issue (IOM, 2010). Finally, the last key message of the paper is the need to fill the existing gaps in the data regarding the workforce of the medical sphere. They note that a plan for improving the healthcare system can only be formulated using accurate data on the contribution of various professionals (IOM, 2010).

The influence on nursing education and leadership

As stated previously, the need to transform nursing education is one of the core aims of the IOM report. The contemporary situation created a bad environment for future professionals and lowered the quality of medical care provided to the patients. As a solution, the authors proposed adopting “a framework of continuous, lifelong learning that includes basic education, residency programs, and continuing competence” (IOM, 2010, pp. 32). One of the suggestions is to increase the number of nurses with BSN by 80% (IOM, 2010). This process is incentivized by providing nurses with bachelorettes with various benefits, including increased salary, higher work and leadership competence, and career growth opportunities. Speaking of leadership, the report helped nursing professionals to gain a leading role in the development of the medical field, offering insight, and gaining recognition. As described by Adeniran (2013), global nurse ambassador at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, “Comprehensive, cost-effective patient and family-centered models of care led by nurses are increasingly becoming popular.”

The evolution of the nurse’s role

As human society becomes bigger and more complex, both our needs and the number of necessary skills for professionals increase. Every year, with further medical research being made, new treatment methods are developed to meet the needs of the people. The IOM report notes “the ways in which nurses during the 20th century taught each other to care for people and learned to practice and make clinical decisions are no longer adequate for delivering care in the 21st century”. This problem arises from the ever-increasing amount of information that needs to be taught and the inefficiency of contemporary nursing schools. This problem is topical for the nursing profession, where one’s abilities and knowledge determine the level of care the patient receives.

The impact of life-long learning

Life-long learning describes a system that encourages one to increase their pool of knowledge in response to the increasing demands of the profession. Life-long learning is also important for dealing with the diverse population of the United States, something that basic education cannot guarantee, due to its time restrictions. The practice is supported by the IOM report as one of the ways to better the healthcare industry (Altman, 2016). The paper states that the other methods of learning cannot “provide a nurse with all she or he will need to know over an entire career” (Altman, 2016). Advocating for the adoption of life-long learning programs, the report encourages the education institutions to regularly update their curricula, ensuring that the graduates have up-to-date medical knowledge (Altman, 2016). Furthermore, they state that healthcare organizations should promote and regularly update various learning programs aimed at increasing professional competency.

The role of the nurse in effectively managing patient care

In an evolving healthcare system, nurses can offer their knowledge and direct work experience to better the management of patient care. As the people that work with patients and understand their needs and problems the best, these professionals have the ability to make the healthcare industry less fragmented and more patient-oriented (IOM, 2010). Nurses work to ensure the quality of patient care and to improve its overall provision.


Adeniran, R. (2013). The IOM Report: Accelerating Nursing Leadership in Health and Health Care. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Altman, S. H., Butler, A. S., & Shern, L. (2016). Assessing progress on the Institute of Medicine report The future of nursing.

Institute of Medicine. (2010). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health.

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