Report: Embracing the Future of Nursing

A woman wearing a facemask and scrubs works on a computer in a hospital hallway.

Recognizing the essential role that nurses play in helping people live their healthiest life, the Committee on the Future of Nursing 2020-2030, supported by the National Academy of Medicine, has conducted a study to envision and chart a path for the nursing profession in meeting the health and healthcare challenges of the decade ahead.

In addition to contributing knowledge and expertise, the committee also solicited input from a broad range of experts via public sessions and town hall meetings. Victoria Tiase, RN, PhD, FAAN, FAMIA, current chair of the HIMSS NI Committee was an appointed member of the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 Committee, and other HIMSS members offered testimony or participated in the public forums.

The culmination of this work is a report, The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity, which outlines desired outcomes and recommendations for achieving health equity in the United States built on strengthened nursing capacity and expertise. The National Academy of Medicine also hosted a webinar to discuss findings and recommendations.

Nurses represent the largest healthcare profession — nearly 4 million in the U.S alone, working in a wide variety of settings and practicing at a range of professional levels. In their various roles and given their numbers, nurses are uniquely positioned to influence the medical and social factors that drive health outcomes and health and health care equity.

The demands on the nursing workforce will only increase in the decades ahead. The committee’s recommendations are designed to lift barriers to expand the contributions of nursing, design better payment models, strengthen nursing education, foster nurses’ roles as leaders and advocates and support the health and well-being of nurses.

HIMSS has long been a strong advocate for nurses as key leaders in developing the infrastructure for effective and efficient health information technology that transforms the delivery of care.

For the past decade, the HIMSS Nursing Informatics (NI) community has advanced the position that “Together, nurses and nursing informatics must lead, and be visible, vocal and present at the table to achieve healthcare delivery transformation.” Thousands of nurse informaticists support this position by participating in the NI community, responding to the triennial HIMSS NI Workforce Survey, attending the annual NI Symposium and joining the NI Committee, Taskforce and Workgroups and other community activities.

Ultimately, the report highlights the importance of harnessing NI expertise to achieve the vision of health equity, as specified in this committee recommendation: “All public and private healthcare systems should incorporate nursing expertise in designing, generating, analyzing, and applying data to support initiatives focused on social determinants of health (SDOH) and health equity using diverse digital platforms, artificial intelligence, and other innovative technologies.”

To achieve this recommendation, the following actions will be necessary.

  • Organizations should accelerate interoperability projects that integrate SDOH data into electronic health records and build a nationwide infrastructure to capture and share these data.
  • Nurses with informatics expertise must be employed to improve individual and population health through large-scale integration of SDOH data into nursing practice.
  • Expertise in the use of telehealth and advanced digital technologies must be leveraged, and nurses in clinical settings given responsibility and associated resources to innovate, design and evaluate the use of technology, including datasets and artificial intelligence algorithms.

Nurses will embrace this exciting future by engaging in the complex work of building a digital health system that equitably supports individuals, their families and communities in achieving optimal health and healthcare.

Analysis by Joyce Sensmeier MS, RN-BC, FHIMSS, FAAN, Senior Advisor, Informatics, HIMSS.

National Nurses Month

HIMSS joins the American Nurses Association, the Alliance for Nursing Informatics and many others in celebrating National Nurses Month each May. The purpose is to raise awareness of the value of nursing leadership and help educate the public about the role nurses play in improving patient care and transforming healthcare. #Nurses4HIT

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