The Institute of Medicine Report: Future of Nursing Practice


Nursing is a profession that is growing at a fast rate. The kind of education that the nurses received during the twentieth century is no longer sufficient to handle the health care requirements of today. With influence from technology, the medical field has moved forward. Besides, technological advancement, the health care setting and patient needs have become more complex, requiring nurses to seek more education for safe and quality health care. According to Blegen, Vaughn and Goode (2001), better education is one of the factors that make nurses lower patient fall rates and medication errors. This paper further discusses the work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Committee initiative in the Future of Nursing, identifies the importance of Institute of Medicine in the Future of Nursing Report as well as the role played by state-based action coalitions in America.

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Committee Initiative (RWJF)

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the biggest philanthropy in America, focusing purely on health and utilizing grants to improve the Americans’ health and health care. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) called stakeholders to present papers that examine, debate, and discuss feasible solutions to the vast number of complex health issues that face the U.S. In 2008, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partnered with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in creating Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative. The central role of the RWJF initiative was to carry out primary research with the aim of bringing into being a transformational report on the future of nursing in America.

Secondly, the RWJF initiative was to examine the size of the nursing personnel that meets the demands of a changed public health care system. Thirdly, the committee was to come up with a set of gallant national recommendations, as well as those that deal with the provision of services in a shortage staff setting and the capability of the nursing education system. The committee would delineate a clear agenda and proposal for action including the transformation of institutional and public policies at local to national levels (IOM, 2011).

Concerning the recommendations, the committee was to scrutinize and give suggestions. These recommendations were to address specific issues such as identifying fundamental duties for nurses as well as developing efficient and effective health care system (IOM, 2011).

The committee came up with four main messages. The first one was that nurses were to be allowed to practice to the full level of their training. Secondly, nurses were to achieve advanced levels of education and training. Thirdly, nurses were to be partners with doctors and other health care professionals in redesigning health care in the U.S. Finally, for efficient workforce planning and policy making, there was a need for better information and data collection infrastructure. Once put together, the report was going to act as an outline for the actions and steps to follow for an enhanced nursing profession (IOM, 2011).

Importance of the IOM “Future of Nursing” report

The IOM Future of Nursing report is important in the nursing practice because it calls for nurses playing a bigger role in America’s complex health care system. According to the American Nurses Association (2016), the Association (ANA) highly lauded the IOM for its newly released report on the nursing profession and accepted the need for nurses to take a leadership role in all settings to meet the demands of America’s changing health care system.

The report’s recommendations revolve around four key messages from which registered nurses, prepared at any level, can pick something. Aiken (2011) asserts that the IOM report recommended that the ratio of nurses in America holding, at least, a bachelor’s degree be raised from the current 50 percent to 80 percent by 2020. The recommendations were to be followed entirely, meaning that there would be well-trained workforce in America for some years to come. Johnson et al. (2012) add that the IOM report on the Future of Nursing has not challenged the nursing profession alone but the entire health care industry. After releasing the report on the future of nursing in 2010, there was a need for action to ensure that the report and its recommendations got implemented fully. This led to the creation of state action coalitions. According to the United States National Academy of Sciences, the intended groups for the IOM report encompassed licensing bodies, leaders from local, federal and national governments, policy makers, professional organizations, advocacy groups, and researchers. Among these groups are those who are considering a career in nursing or responsible for the implementation of the report.

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The role of state-based action coalitions

Sate-based coalitions bring together relevant stakeholders in health care industry to advance the vision of the IOM report on health care transformation. The state-based coalitions dubbed Action Coalitions work towards changing the health care through nursing by gathering nurses, consumers, businesses, health providers, and other stakeholders. The presence of Action Coalitions in almost every state will enable all Americans to access better health care by promoting nurse leadership, education, and staffing. Inspired by the Robert Johnson Wood Foundation report on the Future of Nursing, the Campaign for Action is one of the recommendations in the IOM report (Campaign for Action, 2011).

Florida State has not been left out in the Campaign for Action. The Florida Action Coalition is the force behind the implementation of the recommendations of the IOM report and the transformation of health care in Florida. With the knowledge of definite health care problems and needs facing Florida, the campaign team works with relevant stakeholders to look for a way out. Florida has spearheaded several initiatives with nurses being at the frontline of the campaign. It has created a mini-grant to reinforce the state’s campaign for action activities. It has also made friendly requests for volunteers to join and participate in their campaign teams and initiated good relationships with established nursing centers such as the Jonas Center for Nursing (Campaign for Action, 2011).

The initiatives aid in creating good working relationships with stakeholders and adding more people/staff in the campaign team. However, there are barriers to the advancement of the state. These include insufficient funds and inadequate personnel. At the moment, there is no direct grant funding for Action Coalitions (Campaign for Action, 2011). In overcoming barriers such as insufficient funds and inadequate personnel, the state has to continue attracting volunteers and reach out to other funders such as foundations, states, and the federal government.

In conclusion, the IOM report on the future of nursing is important in the nursing practice. The report suggested nurses should take active leadership roles to address the changing demands of America’s health care system.


Aiken, L. H. (2011). Nurses for the future. New England Journal of Medicine,364(3), 196-198.

American Nurses Association. (2016). IOM Future of Nursing Report. Web. 

Blegen, M. A., Vaughn, T. E., & Goode, C. J. (2001). Nurse experience and education: effect on quality of care. Journal of Nursing Administration, 31(1), 33-39.

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Campaign for Action. (2011). The future of Nursing: Action Coalitions. Web. 

IOM. (2011). The future of nursing: leading change, advancing health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Johnson, J. E., Veneziano, T., Malast, T., Mastro, K., Moran, A., Mulligan, L., & Smith, A. L.(2012). Nursing’s future: What’s the message?. Nursing management, 43(7), 36-41.

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