"Year of Pain, Year of Promise" (Editorial, January) offers hope and uncertainty about the future of nursing. I agree with Maureen Shawn Kennedy's comments and believe the recommendations set forth by the Institute of Medicine—especially concerning education—will strengthen our profession.
As a graduate of a two-year nursing diploma program, I always felt that my baccalaureate-prepared peers exhibited greater self-confidence and stronger nursing skills. I'm now pursuing a higher academic degree, but my facility offers no incentives to do so other than providing a flexible work schedule. It's of utmost importance that nurses receive support and guidance from their employers as they pursue professional goals.
With the struggling economy, the rising cost of health care, health care reform, and the aging and diversity of the patient population, the need for higher education is even more imperative if nurses are to provide efficient and quality patient care. With stronger incentives and support from organizations and institutions, the pursuit of higher education by all nurses can become a reality.
Cheryl Cook, RN