Professional Development of Nursing Professionals


The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health is the report released by the Institute of Medicine in October 2010 that gives recommendations for nurses on how to address the changing health needs of the population. It presents the institute’s vision of the evolution of the U.S. healthcare system, sets forth principles that should guide this evolution, establishes the guidelines for the transformation of the nursing profession, and proposes the blueprint for action. According to the report, both the role and education of nurses should be transformed in accordance with the needs of the increasingly diverse population.

Key Messages

The report outlines four key recommendations to be observed in the nursing practice within the evolving healthcare system. The first two messages are connected to nursing education and training. They state that a nurse should achieve higher levels of education and training, and practice to the full extent, and the education system should be organized to promote seamless academic progression (Institute of Medicine, 2011). The nursing practice should be transformed for nurses to be efficiently employed to the full extent of their skills and competencies, and on the educational level, the system should be improved to prepare a well-educated nurse workforce. For the nursing practice, these recommendations are important to ensure that the current and future generations of nurses can deliver safe, quality, patient-centered care across all settings.

Two other messages concern the management of the nursing practice. They state that nurses should be full partners with physicians and other health professionals in redesigning healthcare and that better data collection and information infrastructure are required for effective workforce planning and policymaking (Institute of Medicine, 2011). It means that the system needs to be transformed to allow nurses to become leaders and give them the capability to influence policymaking and the implementation of health care reforms. From the management perspective, reforming healthcare requires a clear understanding of the necessary contributions of various professionals and improved data management.

Nursing Education and Nursing Leadership

The report is intended to influence the nursing education system and nursing leadership perspectives with the general aim of facilitating a fundamental transformation of the nursing profession. It provides a number of recommendations for improving nursing education that, if implemented, will lead to improving the general quality of the nursing practice. One of the problems identified in the report is the lack of motivation among nurses to seek higher education, and one of the established goals is increasing the number of BSN-prepared nurses (Palatnik, 2016). The report claims that education increases competencies in leadership, evidence-based practice, health policy, collaboration, systems thinking and potentially improved patient outcomes.

To transform the healthcare system, strong leadership is required, and the report aims to establish the role of the nurse as a leader and full partner to physicians and other health care professionals. A full partner is capable of making and shaping healthcare decisions, taking responsibility, setting goals, and devising and implementing solutions (Institute of Medicine, 2011). BSN-prepared nurses have the advantage of being prepared to take a leadership position because they receive training aimed to strengthen their inter-professional communication, conflict management, and advocacy skills.

Evolution of Nursing Profession, Professional Development, and Lifelong Learning

The percentage of the aging population is rising worldwide, and the diversity of the population in the United States is increasing, which is reflected in the changes in the healthcare system. The nursing profession should adapt to the changing requirements while adhering to the primary professional goals. The education system should evolve to prepare nurses to meet a diverse set of patient needs. Entry-level nurses should transition from academic settings to a vast range of practice environments to meet the health care needs of the population environments (An aging population could shape careers in nursing, n.d.). Advanced practice nurses should obtain a graduate-level education that prepares them to deliver primary care in a variety of practice environments (An aging population could shape careers in nursing, n.d.). Professional development and lifelong learning are the most important prerequisites for nurses in caring for diverse populations. They give nurses the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to resolve issues they may encounter while taking care of patients of diverse backgrounds and ages.

Nursing and Patient Care Management

Within the evolving healthcare system, nurses should be able to participate in patient care management and decision-making. The education system should be focused on providing them with relevant training, skills, and competencies. More nurses should receive a solid education in how to manage complex conditions and coordinate care with multiple health professionals (Institute of Medicine, 2011). They should demonstrate new competencies in systems thinking, quality improvement, and care management, and a basic understanding of health policy and research (Institute of Medicine, 2011). As full partners, they should be able to both participate in healthcare redesign and provide leadership in healthcare delivery.


According to “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” the nursing profession should be transformed to meet the changing healthcare requirements. The main principles established in the report include preparing nurses to meet a diverse set of patient needs, molding the next generation of nursing leaders, and providing students with knowledge and skills to deliver high-quality care. Nurses should be educated to act as leaders and aspire to achieve the highest level of education and training to act as full partners to other healthcare professionals.


An aging population could shape careers in nursing. (n.d.). Bradley University. Web.

Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Web.

Palatnik, A. (2016). The future of nursing. Nursing Critical Care, 11(3), 4. Web.

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