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The Future of Nursing: Transforming Practice, Education and Leadership

The Future of Nursing: Transforming Practice, Education and Leadership

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Nurses play critical roles with respect to the values of care, quality and accessibility. The nurses’ profession therefore must undergo crucial transformations in terms of practice, education and leadership. According to Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, these three disciplines (practice, education and leadership) must be transformed because the manner in which the nurses were educated and practiced is absolutely different from the way in which they are educated today and the previous skills are therefore found to be inadequate to deal with current challenges.

To start with, it is essential to transform how nurses practice in such a manner that ensures their skills are utilized to the fullest extent. According to the report by the IOM, nurse's skills acquired through training and education are not being used to their fullest capacity (Ashton, 2012). One way in which this is taking place is the trend in which nurses are opting to work in acute care settings which includes inpatient hospitals yet it seems likely that the future is headed in a shift of healthcare from the hospital location to a community setting. In the community setting, nurses have many crucial roles such as being health coaches, informaticians, primary caregivers among many other roles (Stubenrauch, 2010). Even in acute care settings, nurses are being pushed further away from patients with the introduction of new technologies. In fact, some grim statistics indicates that nurses spend as little as 20% of their time with their patients (Scott, Matthews & Kirwan, 2014). The rest of the time is used in performing other tasks such as medication administration, communication regarding the patient and documentation. This shows inefficiencies in the current hospital design since the skills of the nurses acquired during training and education are going into the waste. As a result, it is highly necessary for a new system to be established that will address these inadequacies.

Education is another discipline that requires serious review according to the report by the IOM. The nursing profession is becoming as highly sort after field of study by many baccalaureate students in the U.S.. However, the nursing schools have been unable to accept all the qualified applicants due to their limited spaces available. Also it is important to note that teaching of nursing follows the same methodology developed in the 20th Century (Stubenrauch, 2010). However, the challenges nurses undergo in this era are nothing like those in the past century and consequently they may find themselves unable to tackle some challenges that they encounter while in the field. The curriculum also faces challenges in the fact that it contains so much information that has resulted from the explosion of research relating to the nursing field. This new information has been piled up atop the old curriculum and also requires extensive instruction in order to be understood. The education system should also cater for the dynamic changes in the scientific world and the vast technological advances occurring in the field of medicine (Pasupathy, 2010). As a result nurses must learn to embrace these changes positively and integrate them in their daily duties as they are meant to be for the benefit of the patients. The education system must also be set in a manner that encourages increased cooperation between nurses, physicians, pharmacists and social workers amongst other health workers. This is significant because service delivery in the health sector requires cooperation between all the different professionals.

The healthcare industry also requires a transformation in leadership on the part of the nurses. Although most nurses do not see themselves as leaders in healthcare, they have a unique position which would benefit the healthcare system should they stand up and take their role as leaders (Scott, Matthews & Kirwan, 2014). Nurses have a unique perspective into healthcare due to their unique position of the hand on interaction with the patients. Nonetheless, there are barriers that prevent nurses from serving as full partners in the healthcare system some of which are laws and regulations. For there to be progress in the healthcare system, it is necessary for a culture change to occur. A change in culture will allow all the health professionals to hold each other in equal regards and also equally be answerable to each other when it comes to the improvement of health services delivery. Strong leadership in the fields of nursing will enable nurses to educate and re-educate themselves as well as taking new reconceptualized roles in new settings.

In conclusion, despite the fact that nurses are highly committed to duly face whatever challenges befall them while they are out in practice whatever cannot be refuted is the fact that nurses are operating below their true potential. For their true potential to be attained, the nursing industry must undergo a fundamental change when it comes to practice, leadership and education. Another key factor to not be that the power to deliver healthcare does not solely lie upon nurses. Other health professionals, governments, businesses, consumers among other stakeholders also play a vital role in the provision of healthcare. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the report by the IOM evokes key factors that must be taken into consideration for the betterment of the healthcare system.

References

Ashton, K. S. (January 01, 2012). Nurse educators and the future of nursing. Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 43, 3, 113-6. Pasupathy, K. S. (April 01, 2010). Transforming Healthcare: Leveraging the Complementarities of Health Informatics and Systems Engineering. International Journal of Healthcare Delivery Reform Initiatives, 2, 2, 35-55. Scott, P. A., Matthews, A., & Kirwan, M. (January 01, 2014). What is nursing in the 21st century and what does the 21st century health system require of nursing?. Nursing Philosophy, 15, 1, 23-34. Stubenrauch, J. M. (January 01, 2010). Report on the future of nursing. The American Journal of Nursing, 110, 12, 21-2.


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