workers, among others. Care teams need to make the best use of each member’s education, skill, and expertise, and health professionals need to practice to the full extent of their license and education. Just as physicians delegate to registered nurses, then, registered nurses should delegate to front-line caregivers such as nursing assistants and community health workers. Moreover, technology needs to facilitate seamless care that is centered on the patient, rather than taking time away from patient care. In terms of education, efforts must be made to expand the number of nurses who are qualified to serve as faculty. Meanwhile, curricula need to be evaluated, and streamlined and technologies such as high-fidelity simulation and online education need to be utilized to maximize available faculty. Academic–practice partnerships should also be used to make efficient use of resources and expand clinical education sites.
In conducting its work and evaluating the challenges that face the nursing profession, the committee took into account a number of considerations that informed its recommendations and the content of this report. The committee carefully considered the scope and focus of the report in light of its charge (see Box P-1 in the preface to the report), the evidence that was available, costs associated with its recommendations, and implementation issues. Overall, the committee’s recommendations are geared toward advancing the nursing profession as a whole, and are focused on actions required to best meet long-term future needs rather than needs in the short term.
Many of the topics covered in this report could have been the focus of the entire report. As indicated in Chapter 4, for example, the report could have focused entirely on nursing education. Given the nature of the committee’s charge and the time allotted for the study, however, the committee had to cover each topic at a high level and formulate relatively broad recommendations. This report could not be an exhaustive compendium of the challenges faced by the nursing workforce, nor was it meant to serve as a step-by-step guide detailing solutions to all of those challenges.
Accordingly, the committee limited its recommendations to those it believed had the potential for greatest impact and could be accomplished within the next decade. Taken together, the recommendations are meant to provide a strong foundation for the development of a nursing workforce whose members are well educated and well prepared to practice to the full extent of their education, to meet the current and future health needs of patients, and to act as full partners in leading change and advancing health. Implementation of these recommendations will take time, resources, and a significant commitment from nurses and other health professionals; nurse educators; researchers; policy makers and government leaders at the federal, state, and local levels; foundations; and other key stakeholders.