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The future of Nursing

The future of Nursing

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The future of nursing is under the challenge of a plethora of health issues in the US and globally. As countries such as United States introduce the health care reforms, the need for improving the quality of healthcare becomes widely demanded across the globe. According toInstitute of Medicine (U.S.) andRobert Wood Johnson (2011), there is significance in strengthening the healthcare workforce such as the nurses in attempt to improve the quality of healthcare services. As such, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) noted that high-quality healthcare can only be achieved if nurses are involved in providing the exceptional nursing care and leadership. This report seeks to discuss the future of nursing as a critical component of quality healthcare.

As the world looks forward to high-quality healthcare services, nurses remain the pivotal workforce in achieving the quality healthcare. Smolenski and Goudreau (2013) acknowledge that nurses have the task of ensuring commitment to patient care, patient safety and quality of the healthcare services. According to Hewitt (2016), the role of nurses in healthcare provision such as coordination of care, promotion of health and improving the quality of health are the main pillars of healthcare services. However, nurses have had challenges in areas such as care coordination, transitional care, and prevention of hospital-acquired infections as well as improvement of wellness. To this end, the IOM posit that there is significance in modifying the nurses’ role with the aim of improving the healthcare outcomes.

RWJF and IOM partnered in 2008 with the aim of transforming nursing profession in order to mitigate some of the nursing challenges that had been noted. According to According to Institute of Medicine (U.S.) and Robert Wood Johnson (2011), the transformation of nursing profession involves transforming the nursing workforce in terms of capacity, skills and competence in meeting the healthcare needs in future. In this sense, the IOM had the task of producing a policy action-oriented report used in effecting the future nursing policies. Nevertheless, Smolenski and Goudreau (2013) admit that the transformation of the nursing profession involves transforming the practice, transforming the education, transforming the nursing leadership as well as ensuring proper healthcare and workforce data.

Transforming the Nursing practice

According to Institute of Medicine (U.S.) and Robert Wood Johnson (2011), explain that nurses have the freedom to practice to the full extent of their education and training. Nurses have the ability to serve as leaders in the healthcare systems. However, Hewitt (2016) states that there are a number of policies that have laid barriers in the nursing practice thus, preventing the transformation of nursing practice. Ideally, the role of nurses should not be assumed to be patient care alone. Smolenski and Goudreau (2013) reiterate that nurses should be considered as individuals with innovative ideas on how to improve the healthcare systems. Challenges such as aging workforce, high nurse turnover, demographic and cultural challengesand fragmentation of the healthcare systems have made it difficult from graduating nurses to join the workforce.

The differences in policies in various states of the United States have also impacted the nursing practice. For instance, Hewitt (2016) indicates that there are states where the scope-of-practice for nurses includes seeing patients and prescribing medication for the patients. RWJF and IOM report indicate that there are many states that have not considered such practical initiatives important in transforming the nursing practice. Management of nurse transition from schools to practice is also a big challenge to the nursing practice. According to Institute of Medicine (U.S.) and Robert Wood Johnson (2011),noted that most nurses lack residency programs that enable them to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for practice. According to studies, residency programs have improved the quality of nursing professions. To this end, RWJF and IOM recommended the creation of more residency programs for all the nurses graduating from nursing institutions so that they can acquire the necessary knowledge in nursing practice.

Transforming the Nursing Education

As United States changes, significant changes in nursing education will also be required.Prevost and Dennison (2012) postulated that proper nursing education will allow both current and future nurses to provide safe and high-quality nursing care. As nursing profession becomes one the vital components of healthcare provision in the United States,According to Institute of Medicine (U.S.) and Robert Wood Johnson (2011),acknowledge the need to transform the nursing education. As the world changes, the nursing roles also change leading to high demand for extensive education. Nurses need competencies in a plethora of fields such as community/public health, geriatrics, leadership, healthy policing, teamwork, research and evidence-based practice. In order to be competent in all these fields, pressure must be increased on nursing education.

Nurses play the role of making critical decisions for helpless patients in hospitals. As such, nurses must understand the mechanics of the life-saving technologies. Additionally, the nurses must also understand the management of chronic illnesses by preventing the acute episodes of diseases and infections. However, such complex demands involving technology and professional decision-making require significant transformation of the nursing education. Most nurses work with physicians, pharmacists and researchers with high-level education. Therefore, they are left under pressure of attaining the highest levels of education (Prevost& Dennison, 2012).

The healthcare systems have evolved setting the patients’ needs higher than they were. In order to realize the goals of nursing, nurses must have good education and training. Therefore, RWJF and IOM noted that nursing profession should offer nurses seamless opportunity to upgrade education. Noteworthy, nurses should have the opportunity of transitioning into higher degree programs such as Licenced Vocational Degrees (LVD), Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), and Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN), Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) and to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Through these stages, the nurses are able to acquire the necessary educational skills and knowledge in providing high-quality care. Nonetheless, the efforts in improving the quality of nursing education can only be achieved by ensuring diversity in the healthcare practices. To achieve this, Hewitt (2016) admits that nurses must be taken through education curricula that offer them traditional and innovative strategies in giving the appropriate healthcare to patients. Therefore, the RWJF and IOM recommended that nurses must have abilities to work with diverse communities (Hewitt, 2016).

Transformation of Nursing Leadership

Transformation of the healthcare systems requires proper leadership. However, nursing profession must ensure that good leaders are produced through the nursing programs. In collaboration with the other healthcare professionals in the healthcare settings, the nurses must acquire proper leadership skills. This will make nurses accountable for their own decisions and actions within the healthcare settings. According to Institute of Medicine (U.S.) and Robert Wood Johnson (2011), said that all levels of nursing require leadership skills. For instance, nurses must be individuals capable of making proper judgments and policies in order to avoid errors in healthcare. Nurses also serve in advisory committees, boards as well as commissions where they engage in policy-making. In order to participate in such capacities, nurses will require proper leadership skills. In future, strong leadership capabilities among nurses will be critical especially in ensuring that changes are implemented to achieve the high quality services. As such, RWJF and IOM cited the need to ensure that leadership-related competencies must be introduced in nursing curricula. Hewitt (2016) added that nurses should possess and demonstrate the leadership capabilities in all the healthcare settings and outside the healthcare settings. In future, the scope of practice for the nurses will expand thus subjecting nurses to an array of responsibilities. Some of the nursing responsibilities will require proper planning, policy making, guiding and educating other professionals. In order to assume all these responsibilities, the nursing profession must consider leadership competency as one of the requirements for transforming the future of nursing (Smolenski& Goudreau, 2013).


As the world changes, healthcare needs also change. In the United States, nurses are considered as the primary caregivers. Nevertheless, the nursing profession experiences challenges especially with the changes in the healthcare systems. According to RWJF and IOM, nursing profession require transformation in terms of education, practice and leadership. The scope of nursing practice must be expanded in order to allow nurses to practice their skills to full extent. In order to ensure high quality services, nurses must be allowed to advance their education in future. Moreover, nurses must be able to demonstrate diversity in their practice. On the other hand, nurses are involved in critical decision-making for patients as well as communities. As such, nurses must have proper leadership skills in order to be competent in policy and decision making. To this end, the transforming the future of nursing depends on transformation of the nursing education, leadership and practice.


Hewitt, P. (2016). The Call for 80% BSNs by 2020. Nurse Educator, 41(1), 29. doi:10.1097/NNE.0000000000000184

Institute of Medicine, (. (U.S.), & Robert Wood Johnson, F. (2011). The Future of Nursing : Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

Prevost, S. S., & Dennison, R. (2012). Future of Advanced Registered Nursing Practice. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders.

Smolenski, M. C., & Goudreau, K. A. (2013). Health Policy and Advanced Practice Nursing : Impact and Implications. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

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