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IOM Report Offers Glimpse of Nursing's Future

   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.

Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at

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