A Nursing Report That Deserves More Than The Usual Shrug

By Christine Moffa, MS, RN, AJN clinical editor

The IOM report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health came out this past October, causing a flurry of excitement among some in the nursing world and groans of “big deal” among others. My immediate instinct was to shrug my shoulders and wonder if yet another report will really make a difference at the bedside.

AJN addressed the report and its implications in our December 2010 and February 2011 issues—so I knew it must be very important. But, for some reason, I had assumed it was going to be a dry, unreadable bore. And I put off reading it until recently, when I needed to use it as a reference. And wow, was I in for a surprise! I especially liked the inclusion of real case studies of nurses from different backgrounds and work experience who are making a difference in health care.

It’s inspirational, and I encourage all nurses out there—and anyone with a stake in health care (that’s pretty much everybody)—to take a look. (Tip: I found downloading the PDF version didn’t take long, and it was much easier to navigate than the HTML version.) If you’d like to hear more on the report and what it means to nurses, sign up for our upcoming Webcast about it. Let us know if you have any questions or comments, and we can try to address them in the discussion. Here’s the official promo info:

LWW Nurse Editors’ Roundtable – The Future of Nursing
Tuesday, March 22, 2011, at 12:00 pm EDT / 9:00 am PDT

After a two-year collaborative effort, the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation issued their report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. It offers several key messages and details recommendations to transform the nursing profession and advance health care.

Anne Dabrow Woods, MSN, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC, chief nurse of Wolters Kluwer Health / Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) and Ovid Technologies, will lead a roundtable conversation with five of the leading LWW nursing journal editors to discuss what this report means to staff nurses, advanced practice nurses, nurse educators, nurse managers and administrators, and the nursing profession. In addition, each editor will discuss how their journal is supporting this initiative throughout 2011.
Joining Anne will be:

  • Maureen “Shawn” Kennedy, MA, RN, editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Nursing
  • Richard Hader, PhD, NE-BC, RN, CHE, CPHQ, FAAN, editor-in-chief of Nursing Management and senior vice-president and chief nursing officer of Meridian Health System
  • Janet Fulton, PhD, RN, editor-in-chief of Clinical Nurse Specialist and associate professor at Indiana University
  • Jamesetta Newland, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP, editor-in-chief of The Nurse Practitioner and clinical associate professor at New York University
  • Suzanne Smith, EdD, RN, FAAN, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Nursing Administration (JONA) and Nurse Educator

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Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.


  1. Theresa White-Price April 15, 2011 at 12:21 am

    I totally agree with all bedside nurses who feel abandoned by their profession. It is time to make your voices heard. Without Nurses Hospitals cannot function. Without Professional support from their employers nurses can function but with pain and despair. Nurse leaders should be held responsible and accountable for continued burnout of nurses at the point of care. Every year there is a new hurdle for nurses to become more informed through technology. The purpose is to improve patient care outcomes. Yet, the pay scale remains the same.

    I agree that the journal was poorly written, without sufficient information, and probably written by those who do not have a clue about point of care nursing. Power is in numbers. Start your own pilot studies regarding your patient loads and what could not be accomplished in an eight hour day.
    They cannot fire everyone…send the results to your unions and/or your congressman. Just a thought.

  2. Deb, RN March 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    It was sad enough when, as a bedside RN, I felt forsaken by the hospitals…… to say the least. Nevertheless, we struggle to survive and give our patients the best care we possibly can, despite the hurdles thrown our way on a daily basis.

    My deepest pain now comes from feeling forsaken by my own profession. What a shame! There seems to be no support from ANYWHERE for the bedside nurse who struggles to “plug the leaks on the dam” while caring for patients “on the side”. God help you when the day comes… and it WILL… when you become the patient in that bed….you’re going to need it.

  3. Vernon Dutton March 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    “The report can be used to argue against restrictive bureacratic hospital policies and procedures that limit nursing practice” Translation = offers nothing new for the nurse at the bedside (The same vague useless information without specific recommendations) The report should have mentioned specific recommendations to improve bedside nurse utilization such as standard acuity, nurse ratios & unrelated nursing duties. – the reasons most nurses leave the bedside. The report offers nothing to encourage the bedside nurse to support the report. (This is not an objective observation but from input from bedside nurses) There is NOTHING in the report to rally the support of nurses at the bedside. The report is “The future of Nurse Practicalness which is wonderful but if is expected to get support from bedside nurses – it will not happen.

  4. Shawn Kennedy March 15, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Strong words, Vernon, and while I agree that hospitals can often make it near impossible to practice professionally, I disagree that the IOM report has nothing to offer nurses at the bedside. If anything, the report can be used to argue against restrictive bureacratic hospital policies and procedures that limit nursing practice. And there are already programs (like Transforming Care at the Bedside, or TCAB) that have been successful in changing hospital practices. While NPs may get the biggest boost from the report, all nurses can win. Nurses at the point of care can’t be bystanders and need to get involved in pushing for changes in their workplaces.

  5. Vernon Dutton March 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    The “Future of Nursing” report is wonderful for Nurse Practitioners and the report should be called “The Future of Nursing Practitioners” as it offers NOTHING for the nurse at the bedside. The future of nursing is Nurse Practitioners. Hospitals have redefined the functions of a hospital nurse and it involves very little nursing. Hospitals have reduced nurses to task oriented employees that are expected to take an unrealistic number of patients, run the hospital,pass pills and chart for reimbursement – If hospital nursing was the only option for nurses I would not recommend nursing to anyone – there is no relationship to what a nurse is taught and the ridiculous hospital utilization of them.

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