“Working on the front lines of patient care, nurses can play a vital role in helping realize the objectives set forth in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, legislation that represents the broadest health care overhaul since the 1965 creation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. A number of barriers prevent nurses from being able to respond effectively to rapidly changing health care settings and an evolving health care system. These barriers need to be overcome to ensure that nurses are well-positioned to lead change and advance health.”
80% BSN Nurses by 2020?
One of the most ambitious recommendations in the report is the section on advancement of nursing education. It proposes the goal of transitioning the average 50% of the nursing workforce at the BSN level today to that of 80% of the workforce in the next 10 years. While this is a worthwhile goal, without the funding to pay for the ADN nurses to advance to the BSN level and the increase in pay that such an advance might ordinarily offer in another field, there is little hope of achieving this goal.
It makes no sense to shut down the existing pipeline of ADN nursing programs and requiring BSN as the minimum standard of education for registered nurse (RN). With the predicted nursing shortage, these ADN programs will be the only way we can meet the needs of the aging population and declining nursing workforce. Unless there is a major influx of scholarship funding from public and private sources to encourage nurses to go back to school in droves and provide them the financial incentive to do so, it is unlikely that the 80% goal will be reached by 2020.
Practice Within Full Scope of Nurse Training
One part of the process that met with approval from all of the panelists was the focus on expanding the scope and inclusion of advanced practice nurses nationwide. With health care costs continuing to skyrocket and a lack of needed primary care resources, offering a full provider status to nurse practitioners nationwide is one of the most effective ways to approach the broad primary care gap that exists. When physicians purport that they should be the only primary prescribers and decision makers for all patients, the IOM reports suggests that these objections be treated as anti-competitive practices and price fixing in the health care marketplace.
If you are a nurse, what do you think about shifting the educational percentages to 80% BSN? In some organizations, there is even a push for higher percentages of MSN degrees. What are you seeing where you work?