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The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health (2011)

Chapter: Overview of the Report

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Suggested Citation:"Overview of the Report." Institute of Medicine. 2011. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12956.
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Overview of the Report

This report is organized into three parts. Part I presents the report’s key messages and important contextual information for the study. Chapter 1 offers the committee’s vision for health care in the United States, explains why nurses have an essential role in realizing this vision and why a fundamental transformation of the nursing profession is needed if they are to fulfill this role, and details four key messages that structure the discussion and recommendations in Parts II and III. As context for the remainder of the report, Chapter 2 describes how the U.S. health care system is evolving and sets forth principles the committee believes should guide that evolution.

Part II details the fundamental transformation of the nursing profession that is needed to achieve the improved health care system described in Chapter 1. This transformation needs to occur in three broad areas: practice (Chapter 3), education (Chapter 4), and leadership (Chapter 5). This part of the report also addresses the crucial need for better data on the health care workforce to inform this transformation and that of the overall health care system (Chapter 6).

Chapters 2 through 6 include a series of case studies and profiles illustrating the work of nurses and innovative models that either were developed by nurses or feature nurses in a leadership role. These case studies and profiles not only provide texture to the report but also offer real-life examples of nurses working in reconceptualized roles and directly affecting the quality, accessibility, and value of health care. Cumulatively, these case studies and profiles offer a glimpse into what the future of nursing could be.

Finally, Part III offers the committee’s blueprint for action in the form of recommendations and related research priorities (Chapter 7).

In addition, the report includes 10 appendixes. Appendix A describes the study

Suggested Citation:"Overview of the Report." Institute of Medicine. 2011. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12956.
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methods and information sources used to inform the committee’s deliberations; Appendix B contains biographical sketches of the committee members; Appendix C offers highlights from the three public forums held by the committee on the future of nursing in the areas of acute care, care in the community, and education; Appendix D contains the consensus model for advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) regulation that is referenced in Chapter 3 and in recommendation 1 in Chapter 7; and Appendix E provides a brief description of undergraduate nursing education in the United States. Appendixes FJ are not printed in this report but can be found on the CD-ROM in the back of this book and contain papers commissioned by the committee on the following topics: matching nursing practice and skills to future needs; transformational models of nursing across different care settings; federal options for maximizing the value of APRNs in providing quality, cost-effective health care; the future of nursing education; and international models of nursing.

Suggested Citation:"Overview of the Report." Institute of Medicine. 2011. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12956.
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Page 17
Suggested Citation:"Overview of the Report." Institute of Medicine. 2011. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12956.
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Page 18
Next: Part I Key Messages and Study Context »
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The Future of Nursing explores how nurses' roles, responsibilities, and education should change significantly to meet the increased demand for care that will be created by health care reform and to advance improvements in America's increasingly complex health system.

At more than 3 million in number, nurses make up the single largest segment of the health care work force. They also spend the greatest amount of time in delivering patient care as a profession. Nurses therefore have valuable insights and unique abilities to contribute as partners with other health care professionals in improving the quality and safety of care as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enacted this year.

Nurses should be fully engaged with other health professionals and assume leadership roles in redesigning care in the United States. To ensure its members are well-prepared, the profession should institute residency training for nurses, increase the percentage of nurses who attain a bachelor's degree to 80 percent by 2020, and double the number who pursue doctorates. Furthermore, regulatory and institutional obstacles -- including limits on nurses' scope of practice -- should be removed so that the health system can reap the full benefit of nurses' training, skills, and knowledge in patient care.

In this book, the Institute of Medicine makes recommendations for an action-oriented blueprint for the future of nursing.

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