The Institute of Medicine’s latest report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, is an unequivocal call-to-action for all who consider health a priority for this nation. It is a call that on a personal as well as professional level I stand ready to answer.
Since its inception, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has had a strong commitment to nursing. General Robert Wood Johnson himself believed in developing programs to support nurses, to recognize their important role as professionals, and to address the nursing shortage of the 1940s. We continue that commitment today. We recognize that it is impossible to pursue our mission of improving health and health care for all Americans without addressing the challenges facing the nursing profession.
The Institute of Medicine has created a blueprint for action that centers on developing a nursing workforce that is prepared to deliver patient-centered care in the 21st century which is characterized in no small part by this nation’s ever-increasing need for primary care services.
The Future of Nursing report emphasizes that nurses are essential to providing higher quality care, both as leaders and clinicians, and that any effort to refine the system requires their comprehensive, continued contributions. Nurses are on the front lines, delivering care where Americans live, work, learn and play—in hospitals, schools, homes, workplaces, long-term care facilities, and community public health centers. To continue meeting the needs of patients, we need to make significant improvements to the way nurses are educated and trained to deliver this care.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is fully committed to ensuring that the recommendations set forth by the IOM do not languish on a shelf. We will use the report as it is intended to be used—as a roadmap for future direction and action. Our role is to identify specific steps toward the implementation of these goals.
Starting today, we will work to aggressively implement them, but we can’t do it alone can’t. It is up to all of us—leaders in every sector of health care, business, education, government and philanthropy. Together, we will ensure all Americans have access to high quality, evidence-based, patient-centered care.