The IOM refers to the Institute of Medicine; this is an organization outside of government that aims to provide sound, timely and unbiased advice to government agencies with respect to health and health care issues. The organization is nonprofit and independent from any government interference; it was established in the 1970s in the United States of America. The IOM principal role is to answer questions regarding American national health. The IOM strives to provide evidence that the government and public can use to enhance healthcare in the country.
In October, 2010, the IOM released a report that was aimed at improving the future of nursing as well as introducing significant changes that would advance healthcare. The report was published after two years of extensive research, which was aimed at improving the nursing profession. The committee tasked with conducting this study came up with four key messages. The first message stipulated that nurses ought to be provided with an opportunity to apply their education and training to the fullest while in the field. This meant that nurses should be allowed to practice everything they were taught to do and not to limit their activities to mere care giving. The second message stipulated that there was a need for an improved educational system to help nurses to achieve higher and more quality education. This education system would, in turn, enhance academic progression in the nursing profession. Third, nurses should be treated as full partners alongside other healthcare professionals. Nurses should be involved in the process of redesigning healthcare in the United States. Their input should be considered since they closely interact with patients. Lastly, the committee felt that the health care facilities in the United States needed to implement better information structures as well as incorporate new effective data collection methods.
After two years of deliberation, the committee also came up with eight recommendations aimed at improving the health sector. The first one stated that the government and relevant agencies ought to remove the obstacles hindering proper practice. This would help nurses to exercise what they have been trained to do without inhibitions. In addition, the committee also suggested that the government should expand the opportunities available for nurses in the field as well as introduce residency programs for nurses. This will ensure nurses are close to their institutions in case of emergencies; such an innovation will provide them with a chance to be close to their families as well. The committee felt there was need for a certain number of nurses to receive further education. The committee recommended that by the year 2020, the number of nurses with baccalaureate degrees should be increased and, if possible, doubled. The IOM report also recommended that nurses should be given opportunities to take part in the process of changing the system to advanced healthcare as well as to allow them to engage in lifelong learning.
Nurses and Education
The report aims to promote nurses’ education through encouraging them to partake in lifelong learning as well as to obtain their baccalaureate degrees. The report emphasizes the need for educated nurses as this will make them more proficient in executing their duties. The world keeps changing and nurses need to be prepared to adapt to the changes affecting the health sector fast; thus, the need for lifelong learning emerges. Lifelong learning means that nurses keep learning new things in their line of duty. Knowledge is power, and this knowledge acts to empower them in their chosen field. This is why the report intensively emphasizes the need for educated nurses.
Nurses and Primary Health Care
The IOM report further emphasizes the importance of giving nurses a voice in the health sector. According to the report, nurses need to be involved in the up-coming changes in the healthcare sector. Nurses are best placed to interact with patients, both inpatient and outpatient; thus, they are best suited to gather the required information for the advancement of health care methods and techniques. In addition, nurses need to be well catered for and appreciated in the workplace; thus, the committee recommends that nurses should be given residency close to their workplace. The report is geared towards making the nurses’ working conditions better. This is because nurses are vitally essential in relation to any process of treatment. They are usually there to take care of patients long after everyone else is gone. They take care of patients before, during and after treatment. They also assist doctors and physicians by ensuring patients adhere to their instructions. This shows how valuable nurses are in the field of medicine.
Nurses and Leadership
Moreover, the report stipulates that nurses should be treated as partners, showing that the IOM values the input of nurses in the heath sector. Nurses should be included in implementing the advanced changes in the health system and they should be given the mandate to become more involved in the patients’ healing processes. This means the barriers on their scope of practice should be removed to allow them to effectively execute their duties without necessarily feeling confined by laws and regulations. This is why the IOM committee recommended that all nurses should be prepared to lead change in the heath sector aimed at advancing health.