The Future of Nursing 2020-2030

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Nurse education continues to be a primary element in the future of nursing.

When the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued its recommendations in 2010 for better nursing care across the United States, healthcare professionals responded by implementing changes that have improved patient outcomes on the local, state and national levels. Today, the IOM, now called the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), is looking to 2030 for additional improvements that will advance a culture of health and wellbeing.

The NAM, in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation and AARP, formed the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 Committee to broaden the original vision outlined in “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health and the 2010 Future of Nursing Campaign for Action.”

“In this study, the committee will need to confront issues related to health policy, health economics and, central to the task, health disparities and health equity,” Sharyl Nass, Ph.D., director of the NAM  Board on Health Care Services, said at a NAS meeting as the committee was forming.

The recommendations that result from the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 study will directly affect the future of nursing practice and registered nurses (RNs) considering careers with a BSN degree.

To start the work, the committee will first take a look back.

2010-2020 Progress

Throughout 2019, healthcare professionals will be reviewing and building on the work done by the 2010-2020 vision team. In a Health Leaders article titled “4 Insights on the Future of Nursing Report,” Susan Hassmiller, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, said the 2010 report offered a call to action for nurses. Hassmiller, in cooperation with AARP, runs the RWJ Foundation’s Campaign for Action, which seeks to advance nurses as essential healthcare partners.

Hassmiller said the 2010-2020 report brought together healthcare leaders and policymakers for a common vision and goal.

“I want[ed] everybody to feel like they own this. That’s why I think the first report was so successful,” Hassmiller said. “It has remained the No. 1 report at the National Academy of Medicine, which is amazing. People are owning it. They bring it into the classroom. I know that there are a lot of [chief nursing officers] who have done their strategic plans around the recommendations.”

Some of the goals from the 2010-2020 report included:

  • Nurses should practice to the full extent of their training and education.
  • Nurses should achieve high levels of education.
  • Nurses should work in collaboration with other healthcare professionals to redesign the U.S. healthcare system.
  • Healthcare professionals should implement effective workforce policies and planning for overall improvements.

For future work, Hassmiller wants to reach the goal of having 10,000 nurses on governing boards and committees nationwide. In addition, the entire committee will review the work already completed to create a vision for the next decade.

 2020-2030 Vision Agenda

In developing a roadmap for the future of nursing, the committee is determining what actions are needed for the nursing workforce to play a leading role in the unmet needs in the 21st century.

In a report commissioned by the RWJ Foundation, healthcare experts established four areas for discussion for the 2020-2030 vision:

Identifying core nursing functions regardless of geographic location

The most recent nursing code of ethics, established by the American Nurses Association, defines nursing as “the protection, promotion and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, facilitation of healing, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups, communities and populations.” However, this description does not take into account key elements in many job settings, said Patricia Pittman, Ph.D., FAAN, author of “Activating Nursing to Address Unmet Needs in the 21st Century.”

By reconceptualizing the core elements of the nursing workforce, nurses, patients and other healthcare professionals will better understand the role. Core elements should include:

  • Providing compassionate care and establishing trust with patients, families and community members
  • Assessing the unmet needs in patients, families and community members in their lives and health goals
  • Building community partnerships to find collaborative solutions for patients, families and community members.
  • Identifying and advocating for solutions to beat systematic injustices

Working at the intersection of disciplines for better patient care

In the past, nurses worked at the intersection of nursing and social work with great success. Today, nurses have an opportunity to work at the intersection of other care providers, such as dieticians, pharmacists and city planners, to expand into new spaces and develop new care strategies.

Strengthen nurse education with core nursing functions

BSN nurse education, including RN to BSN online programs, should focus more on public and community health and better reflect the diverse population it serves. At the same time, graduate nursing programs should include Medicare-funded nurse residencies to strengthen the connections between nurses and community-based healthcare.

Aligning nurses’ jobs, professional development, salaries and associated regulatory policies with core nursing functions

Employers and policy makers should understand the need for expanding nurse roles, provide salaries that will encourage nurses to seek employment outside of the acute-care settings and develop policies that will support both.

In his Medscape Nurse article, “New Study to Explore Issues, Vision for Next Decade of Nursing,” Troy Brown, RN, reported the successes of the 2010-2020 vision and how they will apply to the updated vision. The committee will review more specific issues directly related to the future of nursing, including:

  1. The nurse’s role in addressing healthcare disparities and barriers to care.
  2. The use of nurses in collaborative roles across the care continuum.
  3. Factors that hinder and encourage diversity in the workforce across all levels of nursing.
  4. The nurse’s role in encouraging individuals, family and community roles in the design and operation of health systems.
  5. The nurse’s role as change agents to promote equal and equitable healthcare.
  6. Research to address healthcare disparities.

Through both the successes for 2010-2020 and the vision for 2020-2030, the one constant has been education.

The Role of Education in 2020-2030 Vision

Nurse education has been and continues to be a primary element in the future of nursing. A BSN degree provides an educational pathway for RNs to learn about a wide variety of competencies and engage in more critical-thinking activities. The future of nursing practice begins with a solid education, including an RN to BSN online degree, and considering careers with a BSN degree.

At Duquesne University, school leaders have supported the 2010-2020 vision and will advance the 2020-2030 vision, when completed. The school is committed to providing a quality nurse education, either online or in a traditional classroom setting. Through the university’s online RN-BSN program, licensed RNs automatically earn 60 of the required 120 credit hours to earn their BSN. Students in the online RN-BSN program also have an opportunity to take master’s level coursework for a head start to an MSN degree.

Duquesne University’s BSN program graduates are prepared to work in a variety of healthcare settings and participate in community and governmental boards and committees to promote health equity.

 About Duquesne University online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) program

Duquesne University has been educating nursing students since 1935. Through its state-of-the-art online program, RN-BSN students learn about advanced practice skills in clinical and academic settings. RN-BSN online students are paired with faculty mentors for additional guidance and support through the program.

For more information, contact a Duquesne University representative today.



New Study to Explore Issues, Vision for Next Decade of Nursing: Medscape Nurse

Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Extending the vision: American Nurse Today

Activating Nursing to Address Unmet Needs in the 21st Century: RWJ Foundation