IOM’s Recommendations on the Future of Nursing

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IOM’s Recommendations on the Future of Nursing

IOM’s Report on the Future of Nursing.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) established an initiative on the way forward for the nursing field for two years under the request of the Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The exercise culminated in a document which contained recommendations on an action-oriented program that would expand the role of the health care industry to serve more Americans especially with the debate around the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The report recognized the importance of nurses and their fundamental role in the healthcare system and recommended four issues of significance to the nursing practice.

The first issue was that education and training would be essential in enabling a nurse practice to their full extent. The second issue was that there should be an educational system for nurses that allow them to improve and progress on their education seamlessly throughout their career. The third issues was that the American health system should integrate nurses as full partners, just like other medical professions, in the efforts to redesign the health care of the country. Lastly, the IOM report addressed the need to have policies that establish improved information collection, handling, management and infrastructure (IOM, 2010).

The message by the IOM will be of great influence to the leadership and education of the American nurse. It was the aim of the report that by 2020, 80% of the American nurses will have a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) so as to be qualified to serve a diverse population and ever increasing changes in the health sector(IOM, 2010).. With this goal, the leadership of the nurses hopes to encourage health institutions to offer incentives to nurses to gain new skills and especially in attaining a BSN. BSN prepared nurses will benefit from the recommendations of the report as some health institutions are starting to only employees BSN qualified nurses or give salary raises to nurses who attain their BSN.

Leadership by nurses in the health sector is bound to be on the rise with the implementation of the IOM report recommendations. This is because with a BSN and continuous education for nurses, there will be improved patient outcomes. The government is keen to create payment based on outcomes rather than the traditional payment for merely providing a service(RWJF, 2015). The payment based on patient outcome will be an opportunity for the nurses to provide leadership in the health sector as they provide hands-on service on the patient compared to other health professionals. Such a move will promote the place of nurses in decisions of redesigning healthcare in the country.

The role of the nurse in the American health sector has to evolve so as to much the needs of a diverse growing population. With the Affordable Healthcare Act, more Americans are gaining access to better hospitals and this was generally the population that is considered poor and hence susceptible to a multitude of health risks. Nurses should therefore be well prepared to handle the new patients by constantly remaining educated on the trends, skills and technology in the healthcare sector by increasing their education (Salmond & Echevarria, 2017). Education of the nurse is not only based on medicine, but on other skills like data management which is vital in maintaining the health records of a patient.

Lifelong learning for medical professionals and especially nurses is relevant in caring for diverse populations (Dee & Reynolds, 2013). America is home to people of different backgrounds all who are susceptible to different health conditions. Disease is also changing and especially as evidenced by the Covid-19 outbreak of 2020. It is therefore prudent for a nurse to be equipment of the ever changing nature of diseases, equipment and how each disease affects different populations so that they are able to deliver better healthcare to the population.

The healthcare system in America is evolving. Not only is a nurse not taking care of a patient under theinstructions of a doctor, but nurses are now acting to manage the records of patients with intense care needs, transitioning of patients to other care providing settings or working as health coaches in the promotion of wellness (RWJF, 2015). Nurses are taking up more roles within the health care system and to effectively carry out this role, there is need to support the education of the nurse. There are more fields in which nurses can venture into and without education; this gap will remain unfilled to the detriment of the health of the populations. Telehealth services are a gap that can be filled by nurses but this requires educating the nurse to be able to help a patient virtually(RWJF, 2015).


Nursing is the backbone of all health care systems in the world. There is need to improve the skills and the working conditions of the nurse for better healthcare outcomes. The IOM report, though done ten years ago, still holds valid recommendations applicable to the nursing sector to date. It is of importance for governments to emphasize on the promotion of education for the nurse for better healthcare provision.






Institute of Medicine. (2010). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

RWJF, R. W. (2015, January 20). Nurses take on New and Expanded Roles in Health Care. Retrieved July 8, 2020, from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF):

Echevarria, M. and Salmond, S. (2017). Healthcare Transforming and Changing Roles for Nursing. Orthopedic Nursing, 12-25.

Reynolds, P. and Dee, C. (2013). Lifelong Learning for Nurses – Building a Strong Future. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 451-458.