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IOM Report Offers Glimpse of Nursing's Future

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, October 12, 2010

An Institute of Medicine report emphasizes the importance of nurse education in healthcare reform and suggests a timeline. The report calls for 80% of RNs to have BSNs by 2020 and for the number of nurses with doctorate degrees to have doubled in the same timeframe. Here is what's in store for bridging the gap between education and practice.

The report says that to handle the increasing complexity of care and greater responsibilities they must assume in the future healthcare world, nurses will need higher levels of education and training, starting with the baccalaureate.

Last week saw the release of the long-awaited report from the Institute of Medicine, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, about the future of nursing in America. The report's recommendations are broad, sweeping, and more than a little controversial.

The report is a culmination of a two-year project involving unprecedented engagement with healthcare professionals across the country. In addition to its scientific review of literature, the committee listened to the testimony of experts at three major national forums on acute care, care in the community, and nursing education.

A few months ago, while research was still being collated, I spoke with Susan Hassmiller, the RWJF senior adviser for nursing, who is also the director of the RWJF Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the IOM.

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2 comments on "IOM Report Offers Glimpse of Nursing's Future"


Graham M. Suggs (11/4/2010 at 12:06 PM)
While in nursing school in Texas in 1975 the idea proposed was for a BSN to be the entry level for all nurses. Nothing has been accomplished and now we have a report that states 80% of nurses will have BSN's by 2020. I have worked at the bedside for my entire career and actually seen the collaboration between the physician and nursing deteriorate in that the model of evidenced based practice places us in boxes that we are to follow and stifles creative problem solving for health care. Not all patients fit into the same box all the time and to care for the ongoing health care of a patient requires each and everyone of us to think outside of the box.

Jeanenne Watters RN MSN CPHQ (10/14/2010 at 12:01 PM)
Two thoughts: 1) I'd challenge any RN with an ADN to do an RN to MSN program. Takes about the same amount of time as earning a BSN. 2) We need to resolve the shortage of nurse educators before we can demand any RN to obtain further education.