more affordable, and more accessible care. During the course of its work, the Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine developed a vision for a transformed health care system. The committee envisions a future system that makes quality care accessible to the diverse populations of the United States, intentionally promotes wellness and disease prevention, reliably improves health outcomes, and provides compassionate care across the lifespan. In this envisioned future, primary care and prevention are central drivers of the health care system. Interprofessional collaboration and coordination are the norm. Payment for health care services rewards value, not volume of services, and quality care is provided at a price that is affordable for both individuals and society. The rate of growth of health care expenditures slows. In all these areas, the health care system consistently demonstrates that it is responsive to individuals’ needs and desires through the delivery of truly patient-centered care.
The ACA represents the broadest changes to the health care system since the 1965 creation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs and is expected to provide insurance coverage for an additional 32 million previously uninsured Americans. Although passage of the ACA is historic, realizing the vision outlined above will require a transformation of many aspects of the health care system. This is especially true for the nursing profession, which, with more than 3 million members, represents the largest segment of the health care workforce.
In 2008, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) approached the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to propose a partnership to assess and respond to the need to transform the nursing profession. Recognizing that the nursing profession faces several challenges in fulfilling the promise of a reformed health care system and meeting the nation’s health needs, RWJF and the IOM established a 2-year Initiative on the Future of Nursing. The cornerstone of the initiative is this committee, which was tasked with producing a report containing recommendations for an action-oriented blueprint for the future of nursing, including changes in public and institutional policies at the national, state, and local levels (Box S-1). Following the report’s release, the IOM and RWJF will host a national conference on November 30 and December 1, 2010, to begin a dialogue on how the report’s recommendations can be translated into action. The report will also serve as the basis for an extensive implementation phase to be facilitated by RWJF.
By virtue of its numbers and adaptive capacity, the nursing profession has the potential to effect wide-reaching changes in the health care system. Nurses’