The Future of Nursing Turns Two: Maintaining Focus on Industry Goals
By Dr. Patrick Robinson, Dean of Undergraduate Curriculum and Instruction, Chamberlain College of Nursing
Three decades ago, less than one-quarter of registered nurses held a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. By 2000, this segment increased to 40 percent.1 Though this was an achievement, industry advancements and the demands of a changing healthcare landscape continued to expand the role of the nurse. In 2010, it became clear that all current and prospective nurses should hold a BSN in order to fulfill their role in an increasingly complex healthcare setting, and concern was mounting that nurses might not be well-positioned to respond to upcoming changes to the healthcare system.
In October 2010, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine released the report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which outlined recommendations for an action-oriented blueprint for the nursing industry. Together, the recommendations were to help nurses practice to the full extent of their education, achieve higher levels of education and become full partners in redesigning healthcare in the United States.2
Among its eight core recommendations, The Future of Nursing advised raising the minimum education requirement for nurses, increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020. Now two years later, it is imperative that the industry maintains a focus on and momentum toward these goals.
For example, since The Future of Nursing was released, Chamberlain College of Nursing has expanded access to baccalaureate nursing programs by opening campuses in five new locations. But we know that guidance and mentoring go hand-in-hand with student success, so our faculty and staff encourage students to visit their campus' Center for Academic Success, which employs the services of peer and professional tutors for assistance with course content.
By focusing on enhancing the student experience, we can help more students succeed and strengthen the industry. Increasing the proportion of nurses with a BSN is only part of the goal; diversifying clinical experiences, providing access to high-tech simulated learning resources and incorporating interdisciplinary collaboration as part of the baccalaureate curriculum are all essential components of ensuring that baccalaureate-prepared nurses have the confidence and experience to practice to the full extent of their education and improve healthcare outcomes.
As the largest segment of the healthcare industry,3 nurses have the capacity to lay the groundwork for a path of continued advancement of the profession. The industry is obligated to ensure they have the resources to meet this important milestone.
1. The Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing as Minimal Preparation for Professional Practice
. Issue brief. American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 12 Dec. 2000. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. http://www.aacn.nche.edu/publications/position/bacc-degree-prep.
2. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Rep. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine, 5 Oct. 2010. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2010/The-Future-of-Nursing-Leading-Change-Advancing-Health.aspx.
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Registered Nurses. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm.