Professional Development of Nursing Professionals

Professional Development of Nursing Professionals

Grand Canyon University

NUR 430V

Professional Development of Nursing Professionals

Nursing is a profession that is always changing. We as nurses must adapt so that we can meet the health care needs of our patients.  Nurses started with humble beginnings and through formal education and training have expanded the field into a dynamic profession.  In 2010 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a report “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” that outlined the importance of transforming nursing practice and giving us the opportunity to transform its health care system to provide higher-quality, safer,

affordable, and more accessible care (IOM, 2010, p.1).  This paper will focus on the four key messages from the report, and discuss the direct influence the IOM report on education, professional development and managing patient care across a diverse population and an evolving health care system.

The ad hoc committee deliberated among many issues facing nursing and produced four key messages that needed to be addressed. The first message; Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training, pertains to the lagging practice of nurses.  “The report states that regulations, history, fragmentation of the healthcare system, high rates of turnover among nurses, difficulties for nurses transitioning from school to practice, and an aging workforce” (IOM, 2010, p.5).  The second message Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression. IOM report states that by 2020, the RN workforce should be 80% baccalaureate educated nurses.  As of 2013, the ANA found that 61% of the RN workforce had a BSN degree or higher (AAN, 2016). The third key message; Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health care professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States, ‘to play an active role in achieving this vision, the nursing profession must produce leaders throughout the system, from the bedside to the boardroom” (IOM, 2010, p.7). Working in collaboration with other health care professionals will ensure providing higher quality patient care, that meets the evolving patient and increasingly diverse patient population.  The American Nurses Association recommends that nurses develop leadership skills and skills in interprofessional collaboration and strategic reasoning to promote innovation in all aspects of healthcare delivery (American Nurses Association [ANA], 2016).  The final key message; Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and information infrastructure,  

Planning for the fundamental changes required to achieve a reformed health care system cannot be accomplished without a clear understanding of the necessary contributions of these various professionals and the numbers and composition of the health care workforce. That understanding in turn cannot be obtained without reliable, sufficiently granular data on the current workforce and projections of future workforce needs (IOM, 2010, p.9). 

The recommendations offered in the IOM’s report focus on the critical intersection between the “health care needs of diverse populations across the lifespan and the actions of the nursing workforce” (IOM, 2010).  They each play a role in the evolution of the profession of nursing, building on one another, to compose a higher educated, efficient, collaboration minded nurse (IOM, 2010).  A baccalaureate education has a broader and stronger scientific curriculum that gives entry level nurses a better foundation to address today’s complex health care needs (Rosseter, 2017).  It also facilitates nurses progressing academically into graduate education and advanced practice roles.  The IOM recommends these educational transformations so that nurses will be prepared to meet diverse patient needs, function as leaders and deliver higher, safer and better quality care.  The report gave two direct recommendations that will benefit the BSN trained nurse when entering the workforce.  Implementing a nursing residency programs will help the high turnover rates of nurses by efficiently helping the new nurse transition from school to the workforce, and gain clinical experience.  The second recommendation made that by 2020, 80% of the nursing workforce will have BSN educated nurses, and the number of doctorate educated nurses will double.  “Across settings, nurses are being called upon to coordinate care and collaborate with a variety of healthcare professionals, including physicians, social workers, physical and occupational therapist, and pharmacist, most of whom hold master’s or doctoral degrees” (IOM, 2010, p.6).  This has been being accomplished by facilities offering salary raises and promotions for nurses with ADN or diplomas to receive the bachelor’s degree in nursing, or even some facilities only hiring BSN educated nurses for entry level nursing jobs.  The IOM’s recommendations for the nursing workforce to be 80% BSN benefits all factors of the healthcare field.  The nurse will have higher education, with a background in EBP, and ready to apply that knowledge into critical thinking at the bedside, or entry level leadership roles while also using the higher level of education to meet the evolving diverse patient population. 

In today’s changing health care system, the focus has shifted to primary care, prevention and management of chronic conditions.  This shift along with a growing elderly population has created a shortage in primary care physicians.  The IOM report recommends that advance practice nurses be the ones to bridge the gap in healthcare. “By working to the full extent of their education and training, advanced practice nurses can provide the patient centered care required” (IOM, 2010).  Unfortunately, there are barriers that must be overcome to achieve this recommendation. Nurse practice acts and scope of practice vary from state to state therefore advanced practice nurses in many states are not allowed to practice to their full competency. The Institute of Medicine proposes that a change must be made to provide a broader scope of practice for the advanced practice nurse, allowing for nurses to operate at the highest level of their ability and knowledge (IOM, 2010).  Many of the professional nursing organizations are advocating and making strides to achieve this goal.  According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 89% of the nurse practitioner population is prepared in primary care and over 75% of are actively practicing providing primary care (“American Association of Nurse Practitioners,” n.d.). Nurse practitioners are a vital part of the U.S. primary care workforce. Evidence supports the high quality and cost-effectiveness of care provided by these advance practice nurses (IOM, 2010). 

As a front line bedside nurse over the last ten years I have seen a huge shift in the focus of providing patient care.  I must adapt my nursing practice to meet the new demands of health care. Through continuing education and working towards an advanced practice degree, I am becoming part of the nursing workforce that will help to achieve the goals of the Institute of Medicine.  Increasing my education will expand my critical thinking skills and help me develop the leadership skills needed to practice in todays advanced healthcare system.  The goal should be for nurses to attain advance practice degrees, become a primary care provider and advocate for collaboration between disciplines to create the best possible outcomes for patients within the evolving health care system. As healthcare advances, so must we as nurses so that we will provide the best possible patient outcomes.


American Nurses Association. (2016). Registered Nurses as Inter-professional Collaborative Partners: Creating Value-Based Outcomes. Retrieved from

Institute of Medicine. (2010). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Retrieved from

Nurse Practitioners in Primary Care. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Rosseter, R. (2017, 07/12/2017). Creating a More Highly Qualified Nursing Workforce. . Retrieved from