The future of healthcare relies on the efforts implemented to improve the nursing profession. Quality improvement in the healthcare sector is a multiprofessional concern. These changes can contribute to reduction in hospital stay and the cost of healthcare services. Nurses work in numerous settings and have varying levels of qualifications and competencies, from nursing practitioners who have prescription rights to licensed nurses who offer direct care to patients. Nurses have a direct influence on the outcome of patients. The future of nursing is based on the improvement of nursing practice and diversification of nurses’ roles in healthcare practice.
Nurses are required to practice fully based on their education and training as a way of promoting access to healthcare services. This message also promotes maximization of the unique contributions by nurses through implementation of practice regulations, licensure requirements, and standardization of educational programs in each state. The second key message was based on promoting nurses ability to achieve higher education by using education systems that support continuous academic progress. The third message was aimed at ensuring nurses became full partners with other healthcare providers as a way of promoting multi-professional care provision. The fourth key message was aimed at promoting policymaking practices through better data collection techniques (Institute of Medicine (US) Committee, 2011). These were effective recommendations as they aimed at promoting the competencies of nurses, reducing healthcare system fragmentation of care, and promoting transformation from novice to expert nurses.
The IOM report direct included on nursing education and leadership can be drawn from its recommendations. One of the recommendations made by the report was to double the number of nurses holding doctorate degrees before the end of 2020. Aside from that, the recommendations also focused on promoting lifelong learning for nurses as a way of preparing them for expanded roles and responsibilities in the future of healthcare. The report provides recommendations for preparing nurses for future leadership positions in public, governmental, and private sectors. The recommendations promote nurses’ ability to seek opportunities to develop their leadership expertise, promote education of leadership theories and their integration in nursing practice, and include nurses in decision-making (Huston, 2013). Some of the prospects for nurses with a BSN include opportunities to advance their education through masters and PhD programs, specialization such as renal or geriatric nursing, mentorship and leadership training opportunities, and access to advanced technology used in healthcare training (Institute of Medicine (US) Committee, 2011). These opportunities widen the nursing scope of practice for BSN-prepared nurses.
Nurses’ roles and education should evolve due to the changing presentation of diseases and increased life expectancy among the aging population. The average life expectancy of the population is expected to increase. This would also increase the occurrence of non-communicable diseases associated with advanced age such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The mortality rates among older patients in the present day have been associated with conditions such as cancer. Increasing nursing education and specialization among the older generation would reduce patient falls, promote effective treatment approaches, and limit adverse reactions related to medication errors and interactions. Improving nurses’ roles and education would reduce healthcare costs and promote cultural competency among nurses (Crimmins, 2015). Evolution of nursing roles would also improve their care-giving practices, through promotion of utilization of innovative and technological advances in healthcare during assessment and care provision.
Lifelong learning promotes continued accumulation of knowledge among nurses and improved competency. It also ensures that nurses stay updated and are well versed with advances in the field of healthcare. Once nurses enter their practice, the demand for increased healthcare experience intensifies and the time for advancing their education decreases. Continued lifelong learning plans enable nurses to understand new evidence-based practice approaches and promote the nurses abilities to provide individualized care to patients across the lifespan (Qalehsari, Khaghanizadeh, & Ebadi, 2017). Lifelong education also promotes nurses’ ability to understand the presentation and care practices required for patients with varied health conditions.
Nurses can promote management of patients within an evolving healthcare system through involving themselves in decision-making, working collaboratively with other healthcare practitioners, promoting patient advocacy, and being cultural competent. Involvement of nurses in decision-making practices enables them to offer their insights on patient care. Inter-professional collaboration would enable the healthcare systems to meet all the needs of patients throughout the lifecycle (Salmond & Echevarria, 2017). Patient advocacy promotes communication between patients and healthcare practitioners.
Nurses are essential in promoting people’s health through their role of delivering healthcare services directly to their patients. The IOM report recommendations promote the advancement of the nursing profession through increased education opportunities, integration of leadership theories in decision-making, and utilization of evidence-based practices in care provision. The power to deliver better healthcare services lies in the promotion of nursing education and collaboration among service providers. Since nursing is an ever-changing profession in terms of complexity and utilization of advanced technology, emphasis on education is essential. The nursing workforce contributes to the transformational changes occurring in healthcare.
Crimmins, E. M. (2015). Lifespan and Healthspan: Past, Present, and Promise. The Gerontologist, 55(6), 901-911. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4861644/. Retrieved from The .
Huston, C. J. (2013). Professional Issues in Nursing: Challenges and Opportunities. Lippincott Williams & WIlkins.
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee. (2011). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Retrieved from NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209881/
Qalehsari, M. Q., Khaghanizadeh, M., & Ebadi, A. (2017). Lifelong Learning Strategies in Nursing: A Systematic Review. Electronic Physician: Excellence in Constructive Peer Review, 9(10), 5541-5550. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5718860/.
Salmond, S. W., & Echevarria, M. (2017). Healthcare transformation and changing roles for nursing. Orthopedic Nursing, 36(1), 12-25. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5266427/.