In 2010, The National Academies researched and prepared an extensive report on the future of nursing. In this comprehensive report, several recommendations are made that will prepare nurses to take on changing roles in an evolving system of health care. Healthcare has changed dramatically in the last twenty years with nurses taking on increasingly complex and specialized roles. Legislation affecting healthcare has also provoked changes in the field. The role of nurses in the healthcare industry is expected to change and The Institute of Medicine report and the Future of Nursing (2011) has provided a framework to help guide nurses into the future of their career.
According to Bednar (2014), the critical shortage of nurses in the last decade is beginning to ease. However, many Baby Boomer nurses, which constitute a substantial portion of the nurses in this country will be entering into retirement soon. This will leave another shortage in the field. The Affordable Healthcare Act has also created more positions in nursing. Colleges are reporting that nurses who graduate and pass licensure exams are securing positions very quickly. There is a demand and it will continue to grow (Bednar 2014). According to his article, Bednar (2014) states that the United States Department of Labor reports approximately 712,000 new nursing positions between 2010 and 2015.
For nurses in the practice of primary care, the current trend is to return to school and pursue a course of studies that will lead to nurse practitioner. Demand for nurse practitioners is expected to grow an astounding 94% in the next five years. Hospitals have the residency programs but not the nurses to fill the openings (Stout, Short, Aldrich, Cintron and Provencio-Vasquez 2015). These residency programs have produced outstanding and competent nurses. Residency programs reduce turnover, reduce costs and improved patient care (Stout, Short, Aldrich, Cintron and Provencio-Vasquez 2015).
As doctors become increasingly specialized in their practice, nurse practitioners are filling the role for general medicine practice. Many healthcare outlets have opened over the last decade that are replacing the general physician’s office and staffed with nurse practitioners. Urgent care centers, clinics in drug stores and clinics located in hospitals are all recruiting nurse practitioners as integral parts of their staff.
Shalala (2014) states that many states such as California and Florida are passing legislation to allow nurses to practice more fully. The Affordable Healthcare Act has also been a catalyst in the changing model of healthcare delivery. The demand for nurse practitioner services are dramatically increasing as the delivery method of health care is changing (Shalala 2014). Shalala (2014) maintains that more states need to follow suit in this aspect and that nurses currently in the filed should be prepared to challenge themselves by returning to school an furthering their education and nursing careers.
Shalala (2014) states that nurses are often overlooked in policy making and legislation when they are in fact the frontline of care and patient interaction. Nurses should be in leadership positions where they can effect change. This is another of the IOM’s recommendations, “Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other healthcare professionals, in redesigning healthcare in the United States.” (Institute of Medicine 2011). Becoming a leader in the nursing profession requires both the education and active involvement in nursing organizations. Many health care organizations are moving towards or have already established team oriented approaches to the practice of medicine and in the development of policies (Shalala 201), but many still have not made genuine movement in incorporating nurses in decision making and policymaking. When working in these collaborative groups, Shalala (2014) encourages that nurses speak up and become an active member of the team and the process. The input of nurses is invaluable in guiding healthcare.
The IOM states in its recommendations, “Although the public is not used to viewing nurses as leaders, and not all nurses begin their career with thoughts of becoming a leader, all nurses must be leaders in the design, implementation, and evaluation of, as well as advocacy for, the ongoing reforms to the system that will be needed.” (Institute of Medicine 2011). As nurses take on leadership roles and become more involved in the process, their voices will be heard and taken more seriously.
The committee that prepared the Institute of Medicine’s report and recommendations completed vast amounts of research and discussed these issues at length. Their findings and their recommendations are in line with the changing face of healthcare in the United States. The nursing profession is a critical component of this change and their emerging role in the new healthcare models should be dictated by their voice.
Bednar, J. (2014, Nov. 17). Equipping the future: Demand for nurses rises-along with a push
for more education. Business West, 31(16), 31-33. Retrieved from:
National Academy of Sciences. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change advancing
health. Washington D.C.: The National Academies Press.
Shalala, D. (2014). Nursing leaders can deliver a new model of care. Frontiers of Health
Services Management, 31(2), 3-15-16. Retrieved from: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com
Stout, C., Short, N., Aldrich, K., Cintron, R.J., & Provencio-Vasquez, E. (2015). Meeting
The Future of Nursing report recommendations: A successful practice-academic partnership.
Nursing Economics, 33(3), 161-166. Retrieved from: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/