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AACN Applauds the Institute of Medicine's New Future of Nursing Report

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

AACN Applauds the New Institute of Medicine Report Calling for
Transformational Change in Nursing Education and Practice

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 5, 2010 – Today, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) applauds the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their visionary report on the Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which includes among its recommendations removing regulatory barriers to nursing practice, raising the education level of the nursing workforce, enhancing nursing's leadership role in healthcare redesign, and strengthening data collection efforts. The IOM is calling for policymakers, educators, and leaders across the profession to take collective action to reform education, strengthen nursing roles, and amplify nursing’s voice in transforming the healthcare system.

“The IOM’s focus on the future of nursing comes at a time when healthcare reform presents new challenges and opportunities for the nursing workforce,” said AACN President Kathleen Potempa. “AACN stands ready to work with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other stakeholders to ensure the report’s recommendations are implemented to enhance patient safety and the quality of care available to our nation’s diverse patient population.”

The four key messages that structure the recommendations in the Future of Nursing report include:

  • Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training.
  • Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
  • Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other healthcare professionals, in redesigning healthcare in the United States.
  • Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and an improved information infrastructure.

Specific action steps requiring a collaborative response include:

  • Increasing the number of nurses with baccalaureate degrees from 50% to 80% by 2020 and encouraging nurses with associate degrees and diplomas to enter baccalaureate programs within five years of graduation.
  • Doubling the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020.
  • Addressing the faculty shortage by creating salary and benefits packages that are market competitive.
  • Moving to have at least 10% of baccalaureate program graduates enter master’s or doctoral degree programs within five years of graduation.
  • Removing scope of practice barriers that inhibit Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) from practicing to the full extent of their education and training and serving in primary care roles.
  • Enhancing new nurse retention by implementing transition-into-practice nurse residency programs.
  • Embedding leadership development into nursing education programs and increasing the emphasis on interdisciplinary education.
  • Ensuring that nurses engage in lifelong learning to gain the competencies needed to provide care for diverse populations across the lifespan.

“Implementing these recommendations will propel the nursing profession forward and better position nurses to become full partners in reforming our healthcare delivery system,” added Dr. Potempa. “AACN is committed to leveraging our influence, data resources, and extensive network of nurse educators to advance these recommendations to better meet the health needs of the nation.”

The new report is the product of a study convened under the auspices of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine, and is the result of the committee’s review of scientific literature on the nursing profession and a series of public forums to gather insights and evidence from a range of experts. The expert committee leading this work was chaired by Dr. Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami, and included among its members Dr. Michael Bleich, dean of the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing. AACN was pleased to provide testimony, consultation, and assistance with data requests to the IOM Committee while the report was in development.

For more details on the Future of Nursing report, see the following links:

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The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 640 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. Web site:


Robert Rosseter
202-463-6930, ext. 231