"We must make certain there is a transition from program to program that is affordable and accessible for the nursing population to improve their skill and education level in a way that will provide opportunities to improve outcomes and safety for patients," said Shalala, who is president of the University of Miami, during the webcast. "We will expect 80 percent of the nurses in this country to have bachelor's degrees within a decade."
Specific recommendations from the report included:
- Nurses should be able to practice to the true extent of their education and training, which will require that "scope of practice" barriers imposed by states, federal agencies and healthcare organizations be removed, particularly given the millions of new patients expected to enter the healthcare system as part of the reform act.
- Nurses require seamless academic progression to facilitate their ability to achieve higher levels education and training via the creation of a residency program to help nurses transition from education to practice, as well as ongoing learning opportunities.
- Nurses should be full partners with physicians and other healthcare professions in redesigning the healthcare system in the United States by contributing on management teams, boards and other groups that shape the healthcare delivery system.
- The healthcare system requires improvements in workforce planning, policymaking, data collection information infrastructure to ensure that nurses, among other healthcare professionals, have the appropriate tools to excel in their positions.