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The Nursing Professionals: Professional Development

Nurses are the most significant force within the healthcare system because they spend more time caring for patients than any other medical professional. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report titled “The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health.” This Institute outlined the main challenges that the healthcare system faces due to the changing population needs and new healthcare legislation. This paper will analyze the 2010 report by IOM and discuss the importance of professional development for nurses.

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In its report, the IOM declared four messages for the nursing professionals. Firstly, these professionals should be given an opportunity to practice to the extent of their knowledge, skills, and capabilities. This is significant for the nursing practice because, as IOM states at the beginning of its report, nurses spend the majority of their time with patients, and they are the largest and most effective workforce within the healthcare continuum (Institute of Medicine, 2010). Moreover, if more nurses are encouraged to pursue Bachelor’s and other degrees, they will have the competence to address different patient problems, provide guidance to patients in managing their chronic conditions, and help the healthcare system deliver the best care possible. Secondly, IOM declares the need to change the education system to address the evolving needs of nurses and allow for a seamless progression in their education. This is important because this will allow nurses to address a broader array of tasks and challenges, for example, nurses will be able to establish a private practice instead of working at a hospital (“Nursing: Hospitals vs private practices,” n.d.). This contributes to the goal of the healthcare system in general – providing care to all who need it.

The third message of the IOM’s report is that nurses should be viewed as equal partners within the healthcare system. This message is important because in the US, “physicians commonly experience significant prestige, respect, and financial success,” while nurses do not have the same social status despite their training and their contribution to patients’ health (“Physician and nurse relationship,” n.d., para. 5). Hence, there is a need to raise awareness about the nurse’s role and support their authority as qualified healthcare professionals. The final message of IOM is that data collection should be the basis of workforce planning and policymaking (Institute of Medicine, 2010). With modern technologies, the collection of data can lead to insights that otherwise cannot be achieved. This can help create a cost-effective and high-quality care system, which is why this message is essential.

IOM’s report directly influences nursing education because the institution declares the necessity to increase the number of nurses who have Bachelor’s, Masters, and Doctoral degrees. Following this report’s recommendations, educational institutions should establish education programs for nurses. For the BSN trained nurses, the benefit is in greater recognition of their qualifications, which will allow them to have more choices regarding their professional practice, such as specialty of work and working for a hospital or as an independent professional.

It is essential for the nurse’s role and education to evolve following the changing needs of the population. For one, the population in the US and other states is aging since the advancements in medicine allow people to live longer or receive cures for severe conditions (Institute of Medicine, 2010). This, however, comes at the price of an increasing number of chronic diseases, as with age, people acquire more of these illnesses. The number of medical professionals is limited, and considering the current trends of population growth and education, the US will experience a shortage of nurses soon. Hence, by declaring an evolution of the nursing role, IOM allows these medical professionals to fulfill the population’s needs – provide primary care services, help patients manage their chronic conditions, and address other more specific health issues. The diversity of the population in the US requires nurses to provide culturally competent care. There is a difference in how Asian and Western cultures view illness and death, and failure to recognize this undermines the struggles that people undergo when they are sick or when they lose a relative. Professional development helps a nurse recognize these differences and address them.

Professional development is a must for any individual, regardless of the industry where they work. Lifelong learning implies that a nurse continues to read professional literature and attend lectures or seminars, enroll in professional courses, and do other things that will keep them up to date with the current knowledge. Arguably, in this era, the amount of research and experiments conducted in medicine is overwhelming, which means that researchers continuously offer new approaches to treatments, interactions with patients, or the management of chronic diseases. The relevance of lifelong learning in caring for diverse populations is essential because it allows using up-to-date information and treatment methods, allowing for competent care within the health-illness continuum across the lifespan. Finally, nurses can assist in effectively managing patient care within an evolving care system by providing primary care, specialized care, and assisting patients in managing their chronic illnesses.

Overall, this paper summarizes the message that Institute of Medicine declares in its 2010 report. The population is changing, presenting new healthcare challenges for nurses and the health care system. To address these, a nurse’s role must change, and these professionals should be encouraged to learn and develop professionally. The IOM’s efforts allow nurses to gain education and recognition of their contribution to patient care.

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Institute of Medicine. (2010). The Future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. National Academies Press.

Nursing: Hospitals vs. private practice. (n.d.).

Physician and nurse relationships. (2020).

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