cost considerations associated with the recommendations, and how the recommendations might be implemented. The chapter then presents recommendations for nursing practice, education, and leadership, as well as improved collection and analysis of interprofessional health care workforce data, that resulted from the committee’s review of the evidence.
As discussed throughout this report, the challenges facing the health care system and the nursing profession are complex and numerous. Challenges to nursing practice include regulatory barriers, professional resistance to expanded scopes of practice, health system fragmentation, insurance company policies, high turnover among nurses, and a lack of diversity in the nursing workforce. With regard to nursing education, there is a need for greater numbers, better preparation, and more diversity in the student body and faculty, the workforce, and the cadre of researchers. Also needed are new and relevant competencies, lifelong learning, and interprofessional education. Challenges with regard to nursing leadership include the need for leadership competencies among nurses, collaborative environments in which nurses can learn and practice, and engagement of nurses at all levels—from students to front-line nurses to nursing executives and researchers—in leadership roles. Finally, comprehensive, sufficiently granular workforce data are needed to ascertain the necessary balance of skills among nurses, physicians, and other health professionals for a transformed health care system and practice environment.
Solutions to some of these challenges are well within the purview of the nursing profession, while solutions to others are not. A number of constraints affect the profession and the health care system more broadly. While legal and regulatory constraints affect scopes of practice for advanced practice registered nurses, the major cross-cutting constraints originate in limitations of available resources—both financial and human. These constraints are not new, nor are they unique to the nursing profession. The current economic landscape has magnified some of the challenges associated with these constraints while also reinforcing the need for change. To overcome these challenges, the nursing workforce needs to be well educated, team oriented, adaptable, and able to apply competencies such as those highlighted throughout this report, especially those relevant to leadership.
The nursing workforce may never have the optimum numbers to meet the needs of patients, nursing students, and the health care system. To maximize the available resources in care environments, providers need to work effectively and efficiently with a team approach. Teams need to include patients and their families, as well as a variety of health professionals, including nurses, physicians, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, medical assistants, and social