The head of the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing is one of 15 committee members who helped write the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 report released Tuesday. The document charts a 10-year path for improving health outcomes, reducing disparities and overall improving public health and well-being.
The report is from the National Academy of Medicine and sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
"The report is really important because it's going to direct everyone who has anything to do with nursing and nurses of where they need to be focusing their efforts in the next 10 years," explains UC College of Nursing Dean Greer Glazer, Ph.D. "The issue is this: compared to other developed countries, the United States has the highest poverty rates, the greatest income inequality and some of the poorest health outcomes."
At nearly 4 million, nurses make up the largest portion of the health care profession, Glazer says.
A key focus area of the report is achieving health equity, where no one is disadvantaged or receives lesser quality care and is able to reach their full health potential. Glazer says nursing must be strengthened in order to achieve that goal. To that end, it offers a host of recommendations, and the committee envisions 10 outcomes that will help nurses and the profession position themselves to make meaningful contributions.
Recommendations include increasing the workforce, including in specialty nursing areas; eliminating restrictions on nurses and nursing; improving pay; improving educational programs so nurses are better prepared to address disparities; building a diverse workforce, including a diverse instructional workforce; move to collaborative leadership rather than hierarchical; address structural racism, cultural racism, discrimination based on identity, and inequities across social determinants; prepare nurses to respond to disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic; support mental and physical health and well-being.
Glazer says there are a lot of barriers, including legislation and rules that prevent nurses from practicing "to the full extent of their education" that need to be removed so people can get the care they need from nurses, specifically advanced practice nurses. She says the COVID-19 pandemic showed many of those barriers can be lifted, because they were.
The report concludes, "Policy makers and system leaders must seize this moment to support, strengthen, and transform the largest segment of the health care workforce so nurses can help chart the nation's course to good health and well-being for all. Over the course of this decade, nurses will face a host of challenges - from addressing the lasting effects of COVID-19 on themselves and their communities
to dismantling the racist systems that create and perpetuate inequities."
Glazer says being part of the committee writing the report was "a unique, humbling and enriching opportunity."