Report at a Glance
Nurses' roles, responsibilities, and education should change significantly to meet the increased demand for care that will be created by health care reform and to advance improvements in America's increasingly complex health system, says a new report from the IOM.
Nurses should be fully engaged with other health professionals and assume leadership roles in redesigning care in the United States, said the committee that wrote the report. To ensure its members are well-prepared, the profession should institute residency training for nurses, increase the percentage of nurses who attain a bachelor's degree to 80 percent by 2020, and double the number who pursue doctorates. And regulatory and institutional obstacles — including limits on nurses' scope of practice — should be removed so that the health system can reap the full benefit of nurses' training, skills, and knowledge in patient care.