The AACN, this isn’t the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, this is the American Associations of Colleges of Nursing, and it is one of the primary bodies that handle accreditation and planning for future educational process in the nursing career field. They have applauded a recent Institutes of Medicine report on nursing and it’s calling for a couple of different things.
The Future of Nursing report which was put together by the Institutes of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson found 4 key things. Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through a system of education that has improved itself and changed so that it can facilitate that advancement of training an education an important aspect so if you- there’s a lot of push right now for nurses to be moved, the basic level of nursing to be moved up to BSN but there are a significant number of associate’s degree programs, ADN nurses out there and they are all RN’s, they just don’t have the additional bachelor’s degree associated courses that come along with a more advanced degree. Does that mean they’re not good nurses? I don’t think so, and I think that there are a lot of people that would agree with me on that but should we encourage and facilitate the advancement of these nurses to a higher degree level and more education and training? Absolutely, but the education system needs to be changed and adjusted and the workplace environment needs to be changed and adjusted to facilitate that environment for these nurses.
Also, the report said that nurses should be full partners with physicians and other health care professionals in re-designing health care in the US and I think this is an important aspect of health care reform. You know, everybody is like, well the health care reform bill passed, it’s done. No, it was a step in a direction. Some of you might think it’s a step in the wrong direction, some of you might think it’s a step in no particular direction. I think I can agree with some of that, it’s completely watered down from anybody’s expectations for what it might have been on either side of the issue but it is going to be an ongoing process. It certainly didn’t fix all of the problems or many of the problems I think but it will continue to develop and evolve and nurses should be involved as partners in the health care system with everyone having a voice and that includes physicians, other health care professionals and nurses and I think that that’s a very important process here.
Also, effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and improved information infrastructure. Basically that we should be doing more to do science-based practice, that we should have more and better data collection and nursing research- it doesn’t say nursing research but I think it’s focus is on nursing so therefore we’re talking about data collection for nursing practice and so encouraging and improving the ways that we can implement studies and changes to our practice based on research and data that we already have collected but we have to collect that data.
It’s a lot of great things, they’ve had a couple of different action steps and I’m just going to talk about a couple of them. They want to increase the number of nurses with doctorate degrees by the year 2020, so 10 years from now they want to double the number of nurses with PhD’s. They also want to address faculty shortages by making pay grades for faculty nurses. Education institutions competitive with advanced practice nurses in actual clinical practice and I think that’s an important aspect as well. There’s a couple of other things including leadership development, encouraging advanced degrees and other things that you should check out the article and I encourage you to be aware of the changes that are coming. I think we’re going to see more changes from each state board of nursing, more changes from local and internet based educational institutions to encourage you to advance your career and advance your degree and move into other specialties and expand your horizons as a nurse. This is an exciting and I urge you to follow up and check out all of the details associated with it. There’s a whole lot more to it and this article goes into it quite a bit of that and you should check it out for yourselves.
This article has been featured in the news segment of the Nursing Show episode Hepatitis Review, Nursing Care and Episode 152.