IOM Report Offers Glimpse of Nursing's Future

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media , October 12, 2010

"Nurses are critical to the healthcare team, but there is no substitute for education and training. Physicians have seven or more years of postgraduate education and more than 10,000 hours of clinical experience, most nurse practitioners have just two-to-three years of postgraduate education and less clinical experience than is obtained in the first year of a three-year medical residency. These additional years of physician education and training are vital to optimal patient care, especially in the event of a complication or medical emergency, and patients agree," said Patchin.

Most nurses would argue that nurses are not trying to replace physicians, simply to practice alongside them as distinct but equal professions engaged in the provision of care to patients.

The president of the IOM, Harvey Fineberg, MD, MPP, PhD, said "The report aims at empowering nurses to be even more effective and making long-lasting improvement to quality, access, and the value of healthcare for all Americans."

This report has the potential to usher in a new era of change and empower the profession. For years, nursing's ability to affect change has been hindered by the lack of a single voice to decide a direction and priorities. Most nurses don't belong to the American Nurses Association, which is the big national nursing association one might think represents nursing. They are more likely to belong to associations that represent their specialty, e.g., Emergency Nurses Association or the Association of Critical Care Nurses. Then there are the state-level associations, which also push their own agendas. I've heard before that the reason nurses can't get things done on Capitol Hill is that they don't come with one voice on one issue.

Perhaps this report can be a unifying voice we can all get behind.

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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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.




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