Author Archives: Patricia Moulton

The Journey to National Nursing Minimum Data Sets

Jul 23, 2012, 3:25 PM, Posted by Patricia Moulton

By Patricia Moulton, PhD, executive director, North Dakota Center for Nursing and  co-lead, North Dakota Action Coalition

In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a groundbreaking report on the future of nursing that identifies as one of its key messages the need for improved data collection and an enhanced information infrastructure as requirements for effective workforce planning and policy-making.

The report, called The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, recognizes that data “on the numbers and types of health professionals currently employed, where they are employed and in what roles” is imperative to the establishment of accurate workforce projection models. Such models are necessary to inform policy-makers in their aim to ensure effective workforce planning as well as to make needed changes in nursing practice and education to meet population needs.

Nurse leaders and researchers are working toward that goal.

In 2008, before the IOM released its report on the future of nursing, the Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers embarked on a multi-year process to develop minimum data sets for the collection of nursing education, supply and demand data across the 34 nursing workforce centers. The minimum data sets were finalized in 2009 and are available at the forum’s website

For the project, the forum’s research committee recently surveyed the 34 current nursing workforce centers to determine how many have implemented the minimum data sets.

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