Five years later, how close is the 'Future of Nursing'?

Progress has been made, but there is still work to be done in the areas of expanding nurses’ roles professionally and in leadership, increasing diversity and improving data collection, according to a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine review of progress made since the 2010 Institute of Medicine report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health was released.

The study points out that the 2010 report coincided with the Affordable Care Act’s creation of new models of care and its recommendations represented a transformation of the nursing profession. The Academies committee that followed up the report and recommendations “found that since the 2010 report, the nursing community has been galvanized at the national and state levels,” the report states. It pointed to eight states that helped to remove barriers to nurses' expanding their practice, allowing nurse practitioners full practice and prescriptive authority. Now, 21 states allow full-practice authority, and while other states are making incremental progress, there is still work to be done toward removing scope-of-practice barriers. 

Higher education among nurses also has increased. The report states that in 2010, about half the nation’s nurses held a baccalaureate or higher degree. “Baccalaureate program enrollment has increased substantially in the last five years, with entry-level enrollment increasing to 172,794 in 2014 from 147,935 in 2010.  Registered nurses who enrolled in bachelor of science in nursing completion programs increased to 130,345 in 2014 from 77,259 in 2010,” according to the most recent report. The 2010 report suggested a goal by 2020 of having 80 percent of nurses attain a bachelor's degree and doubling the number of nurses who pursue doctorates. More information about the report can be found on the National Academies website.

Ebola nurse recounts horrors, challenges and successes

A nurse remembers the horrors, challenges and successes of clinicians working to save the lives of Ebola patients while protecting themselves from infection in the most recent American Journal of Nursing.

Deborah Wilson, R.N., spent five weeks as nursing team manager in an Ebola treatment unit in Liberia. Fighting a disease in which the unit’s 40 percent survival rate was considered an unqualified success, Wilson “describes what it was like inside the high-risk zone where it was rare to get through a round without finding another patient who had passed away, dying alone without family and friends.

She describes the challenges of providing aggressive care while hampered by protective gear, able to touch patients only with gloved hands, and finding creative ways to get vital signs and other critical patient information out of the high-risk zone — where anything used to record patient information was soaked with chlorine disinfectant solution to prevent contamination — so it could be recorded in the patient’s chart.”

High praise for inpatient nursing assistants

A Huffington Post writer posts that her experience with her daughter in the hospital for five days opened her eyes to the significant role of the nursing assistant.

The love letter to this segment of the profession gushes over how the nursing assistants’ “high level of dedication to patient care and comfort … they were consistently working to meet their patients' needs.”

The writer goes on to say: “The common assumption is that the nurses and physicians do it all. While the nurses and physicians deserve massive recognition in their own right, they often do receive that validation. But it is the nursing assistants who fail to regularly get the acknowledgement they have earned."

Sensors allow nurses to help patients live independently longer

A study of resident care at TigerPlace, a Columbia, Mo., independent living community, found that the use of sensor technology and on-site nursing care let residents reside at the facility 1.7 years longer than living without sensors.

The health alerts generated by the sensor technology allowed care coordinators an earlier opportunity to intervene in the seniors’ care, the report in the Journal of the American Academy of Nursing stated.