Institute of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson examine role of nurses in health reform

As health reform efforts steam forward, what role should nurses play in remaking the health system? It's about time that someone asked this question, and the Institute of Medicine has come together with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop a report on just that.

The report, due out in fall 2010, will look at how nurses can improve care quality, lower costs and improve access to care. It will also collect their advice on how to remake critical care areas, such as chronic disease management, preventive care and nurse-staffing levels.

In addition to giving nurses due respect, the report will also examine some of the problems the healthcare industry will face in building a substantial enough workforce to address the demand for nursing after reform is in place. While nursing demand has slowed a bit due to financial problems at hospitals, hospital executives expect the nursing shortage to come back with a vengeance with the recession ends, as the underlying problems causing the shortage haven't gone away.

To learn more about the planned report:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)