The Future of Nursing


Just like in other professions, changes in nursing are bound tohappen. Changes can come from regulatory bodies, the government orthe nurses themselves. In other instances, independent bodies canrecommend changes that complement the government’s developmentagenda in healthcare. One such organization is the Institute ofMedicine (IOM). In a 2008 report, IOM makes recommendations innursing practice that are to be adopted if the country wishes to makehealth policies, such as Medicare and Medicaid, a success (IOM,2011). The report addresses nursing issues such as education,practice, and leadership. The report seeks to draw a framework for afuture in nursing in a world where quality healthcare is affordableto all. This essay seeks to address the impact of the 2008 IOM reporton nursing education, nursing practice, and nurses in leadershippositions.

The recommendation that nurses should practice to the full extent oftheir training and education has a few implications on the future ofnursing. At the workplace, it will ensure that nurses are functionalto their full potential. Capping the potential of nurses by limitingtheir practice only serves to reduce their productivity. Nurses withnumerous skills should be allowed to exercise them all in order forthem to perfect them.

In addition, allowing nurses to practice to the full extent of theireducation will eliminate the idea of nurses being specialists on onearea of healthcare (Kim et al, 2015). For instance, when the hospitalrestricts an overall trained nurse in the neonatal unit for severalyears, the nurse will become a specialist in the area but then, hewill never be able to practice fully what he learned in school.

IOM (2011) supports the recommendation on nursing education by givingexamples of states that allow nurses to make prescriptions withoutthe supervision of a doctor. As the report notes, nurses in suchstates grow to be all round professionals. However, the majority ofstates lag behind in terms of limiting what nurses can do in ahospital setting.

However, if these states change their strict guidelines in thefuture, then nurses will be only restricted from partaking in a fewroles within the hospital. Such a move will be good for the quest toprovide quality healthcare because nurses comprise the largestcategory of healthcare workers and therefore if allowed to work innumerous sectors, they will ease off the pressure on other workers.

The report also recommends that the infrastructure in hospitals bemodernized. What this means to the nursing practice is that therewill be no more frustrations. Sometimes nurses are willing to givetheir all but then the poor infrastructure in hospitals betrays them.Not to mention, the poor infrastructure also reduces the productivityof nurses and the efficiency of hospitals (Hanaffin et al, 2014). Ifinfrastructure is modernized, nursing practice will offer jobsatisfaction to its members.

Better infrastructure will also motivate nurses to work to the bestof their ability. The quality of healthcare will also improve in thatnurses will have more control over the quality of clinical outcomes.If there is an overall improvement in the quality of services offeredby the largest category of healthcare workers, then the quality ofhealthcare in general will improve in the country.

The recommendation that nurses should assume leadership positionswill see a future with an increased number of nurses at leadershippositions. The report recommends that nurse should not be only beingleaders on the bedsides but also in boardrooms. Implementation ofthese recommendations will ensure the creation of policies that arefavorable to the working conditions of nurses. Unlike in the pastwhere other professionals who were not in touch with the reality ofthe nursing workplace made most of the policies, nurses on the boardwill make better policies because they understand where the shoehurts the most.

Making nurses full partners in the hospital business will give themexperience in leadership positions. They will be able to makepolicies that will lead to the overall improvement of the quality ofhealthcare in the USA. The full partnership status will put nurses ata vantage point to identify weaknesses, wastages, and, improvements,something that other partners can hardly identify (Huber, 2013). Whennurses identify these inconsistencies, they are better placed to findcreative solutions in comparison to a partner who sits in theboardroom and only makes decisions based on the facts presented toher.

In conclusion, if the recommendations made in 2011 by the Instituteof Medicine are to be implemented, then the future of nursing willchange for the better. The recommendation that nurses should practiceto the full extent of their education will create a future in whichnurses are all round players in the various sectors of healthcare.Improving the infrastructure of hospitals will be a motivator fornurses to work to their full potential. It will also offer jobsatisfaction, something that the current nursing practice lacks.Finally, the proposition, which recommends more nurses in leadershipposition, will transform the future of nursing to the better. Nursesshould not only be leaders at the bedside but also in boardrooms.Having nurses in leadership positions will lead to the formulation ofsound policies because nurse leaders will know that places that needthe most improvement.


IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2011. : LeadingChange, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: The National AcademiesPress

Hanafin, S., Roe, S., O`Dowd, M., &amp Barry, C. (2014). Supportingthe use of evidence in community nursing: a national strategicapproach. British journal of community nursing, 19(10),496-501.

Huber, D. (2013). Leadership and nursing care management.Elsevier Health Sciences.

Kim, M. J., Park, C. G., McKenna, H., Ketefian, S., Park, S. H.,Klopper, H., &amp Coetzee, S. (2015). Quality of nursing doctoraleducation in seven countries: survey of faculty andstudents/graduates. Journal of advanced nursing, 71 (5),1098-1109