The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C., have announced the launch of a new initiative to identify nursing care solutions that not only address many of the issues facing the profession but also transform the way Americans receive health care.
As part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine, IOM has convened a committee of experts that will review innovative models of nursing care and education. To inform its deliberations, the committee will hold three town meetings to gather information. Based on its findings, the committee will put together a report on the future of nursing, with solutions that nursing can provide to improve the quality of patient care while controlling costs.
Donna E. Shalala, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and current president of the University of Miami, will chair the committee, with Linda Burnes Bolton, vice president for nursing and director of nursing research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, serving as vice chair. They will be joined by fourteen other researchers, health professionals, and leaders from academia, industry, and nonprofit organizations. The committee expects to present its findings and recommendations in the fall of 2010.
According to RWJF president and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, nursing-care models offer important insights on improving patient care. For example, healthcare settings that employ more nurses have been shown to have fewer medical errors, lower rates of hospital acquired infections, shorter hospital stays, and lower patient mortality. However, the nursing profession — the largest segment of the healthcare workforce — faces a shortage that could reach 500,000 full-time nurses by 2025.
"We believe our nation cannot adequately address the challenges facing our healthcare system without also addressing the challenges facing the nursing profession," said Lavizzo-Mourey. "For health reform to succeed, and for patients to receive better care at a cost we can afford, we must change the way health care is delivered. And nursing is at the heart of patient care."