The Future of Nursing 2020-2030

By Cathy Hall, MS, RN, NE-BC, CHEP, vice president and associate chief nursing officer, Miami Valley Hospital South, and Patricia O’Malley, PhD, APRN-CNS, nurse researcher, Premier Health Center for Nursing Excellence

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine sponsored the first of three town hall meetings on March 20, 2019, to draft a second document, similar to the 2010 Institute of Medicine report that profoundly changed the education and practice of nurses over the past decade. The 2010 report was instrumental in removing practice barriers and expanding advanced practice nursing. Since 2010, the percentage of nurses with a BSN has increased from 49 percent to 57 percent, with substantial increases in doctorally prepared members as well. The field of nursing has diversified and also become partners in health policy and decision making. As a result, nursing has succeeded in building information infrastructure, evidence-based practice, and outcome data.

Now, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AARP, the Committee on the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 will prepare a 2020-2030 plan for nursing based on expert analysis, town halls, and research. The United States spends the most on health care with generally unfavorable outcomes compared to other countries. Something has to change.

So, what will be some of the issues going forward? Areas of possible action include: modifying education and academic progression in nursing with improved clinical education, developing a seamless path to BSN for graduates of the 1,100 community colleges in the United States, considering reintegration of LPNs in the acute care setting to modify RN workload, and increasing the number of college educators because one-half of the current teaching faculty will retire by 2025. With the rise in clinical doctorates in nursing, the number of PhD graduates has declined over the past 10 years. Scholars are still needed to develop pathways to increase nurses with PhDs; examine the role of artificial intelligence in nursing, as well as the value of virtual reality in education; find solutions to disruptive technology in the practice environment; design new models of care for financing and care delivery that drive patient outcomes and retention of nurses; pursue the Healthy Nurse-Healthy Nation model; promote self-care; build resilience; prevent burnout; improve access to care; and explore the social determinants of health.

Watch for the final report in about two years. During this period of waiting, you can keep track of the work and participate in free town halls over the web as they are scheduled. More information is available online.

Back to the August 2019 issue of the Nursing Newsletter

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