Professional development of nursing professionals

The healthcare system of America is constantly developing. Various research studies have discovered that chronic diseases are the leading cause of disability and death in the United States. Similarly, communicable diseases have become a major concern to the US healthcare system. Additionally, low educational level in nursing and lack of implementation of evidence-based practice has been associated with poor patient outcomes. Therefore, the health professionals, particularly nurses, need to be prepared to efficiently handle the challenges the healthcare system faces. Since a proper healthcare system is not only caring for patients, nurses also need to have good education and become competent in research and policymaking. Consequently, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) developed recommendations to improve the nursing profession. This paper analyzes the impact of the IOM report on education, nursing practice, and leadership, and explains adjustments that can be made in the nursing practice to meet the goals of IOM.

The IOM report recommended that nurses needed to practice fully according to their education and training. The report further recommended that nurses needed to continue education and training. The IOM collaborated with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and developed with a recommendation that also advocated for an enhanced education system, which promotes seamless academic progression.

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The Impact of the IOM on Nursing Education

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing analyzes the impact that these recommendations have had on the education sector. The president of American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports that 38 new entry levels to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) have been opened nationwide, and the entry level has increased by 17%. Secondly, the number of schools offering accelerated baccalaureate nursing programs has increased from 231 to 293. Additionally, the number of Registered Nurses (RNs) who have enrolled in the BSN programs has grown from 77,000 to 130,000 students.

In doctoral degrees, the IOM recommendations have caused a surge in the enrollment in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. The number of DNP enrollment has increased by 161%. Additionally, the increase in Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs has risen by 139 %. Despite the number of baccalaureate and doctoral programs growing, there has been a shortage of nurses. Therefore, the AACN recommends that the IOM should make sure that the number of nurses meets the demand nationwide.

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Impact of IOM in Primary Care

The IOM recommended a removal of practice barriers for nurses. Nurses also had to receive reimbursements just like their fellow physicians who offered primary care services. Anderson and St. Hilaire conducted an observational study in a community health center to observe the work of nurses and the way they categorized their activities. The study revealed that since IOM made the recommendations, nurses had not received reimbursements but were actively involved in primary care. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), reports that 55,400 nurses were clinically active in primary care in 2010. This estimation was derived from an examination and comparison of various sources as there was no single reliable source of data for nurses. HRSA further says that the number of nurses practicing primary care has increased and is projected to increase to 72,000 in 2020 , an increase of 16700 nurses from 2010.


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Impact of the IOM Recommendations on Nursing Role as a Leader

The IOM recommended that the healthcare organizations, private and public funders, nursing associations, and nursing education programs needed to expand leadership opportunities for nurses. Additionally, the IOM recommended that nurses had to be proactive in designing innovative, patient-centered care models. HRSA recognizes the recommendation of leadership in nursing and analyzes the role that nurses have played concerning the leadership roles. The number of nurses acquiring the doctoral education is rising, and those nurses are actively involved in various leadership roles. Additionally, many nurses are engaged in research studies which are published in journals more frequently.

Changing Practice to Meet the Goals of the IOM Report

Having analyzed the IOM recommendations mentioned above and the way they are being implemented, there is a need to adjust my roles as a nurse to meet the IOM recommendations. First, I will continue education because nurses have been given an opportunity to practice fully to the extent of their education and training. This will give me the autonomy in my area of practice, and I will encounter fewer barriers at the workplace. Secondly, I will use research studies to incorporate evidence-based practice in my nursing care. Moreover, I will collaborate with physicians at the workplace and participate in decision making to improve the image of the nursing professional as a leader.


Noticeably, the IOM recommendations have had a major impact on the nursing profession. The IOM report has indicated that nurses need to demonstrate progress not only in the spheres of education and practice, but also in research and promotion of evidence-based practice. The dynamic and increasingly complex healthcare system needs the expertise of the nurses to achieve the goal set by IOM. Therefore, the schools of nursing and healthcare organizations have to promote a culture of continuous learning as recommended by IOM and provide necessary resources for improving professional competency in nursing. Most importantly, nurses have to observe the IOM recommendations and implement them. Consequently, nurses will be motivated to use higher education possibilities, apply research in their practice settings, and improve leadership skills.