JACKSON — The Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine recently released The Institute of Medicine report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” a thorough examination of the nursing workforce, according to the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL).
The report looks at nursing practice, education and leadership and explores how nurses’ roles, responsibilities, and education should change significantly to meet the increased demand for care that will be created by healthcare reform and to advance improvements in America’s increasingly complex health system (www.thefutureofnursing.org).
Launched at the National Summit on Advancing Health through Nursing, the key recommendations of the report include:
• Remove scope-of-practice barriers
• Expand opportunities for nurses to lead and diffuse collaborative improvement efforts
• Implement nurse residency programs
• Increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020
• Double the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020
• Ensure that nurses engage in lifelong learning
• Prepare and enable nurses to lead change to advance health
• Build an infrastructure for the collection and analysis of inter-professional healthcare workforce data.
“This is a landmark report that will shape nursing and nursing education for years to come,” said Dr. Janette McCrory, director of Nursing Education, IHL.
Mississippi is one of five states invited to participate in the pilot implementation phase of the report’s major recommendations. The other states include California, Michigan, New Jersey and New York. The states were selected to form Regional Action Coalitions based on their strong nursing capacity and known opportunities for non-nursing partnerships with business, government and philanthropic partners, IHL said.
Mississippi is already implementing or planning to implement a number of programs and initiatives to achieve the goals outlined by the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations.
Mississippi currently has articulation agreements between two-year and four-year institutions to enable nurses to improve their skills through increased educational attainment. Currently, over half of registered nurses hold an associate degree in nursing while almost 30 percent hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Only eight percent hold a master’s degree in nursing and less than one percent of registered nurses hold a doctorate. The articulation agreements are reviewed periodically to ensure that students have a seamless transition from one institution to another.
The report noted that effective workforce planning and policymaking require strong data collection and information infrastructure. Mississippi has a robust system for collecting and reporting nursing education and nursing workforce data. Through partnerships between Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning’s Office of Nursing Education, the Mississippi Board of Nursing and the Mississippi Office of Nursing Workforce, the state’s policymakers have access to the kind of information needed to make decisions regarding workforce planning and policy. The data collected is also available online.
This data is used by the Education Redesign Committee of the Mississippi Council of Deans and Directors of Schools of Nursing as they discuss ways to enhance the process as students transfer from one educational level to the next and one school of nursing to another.