Higher education for nurses recovers momentum. Among several recommendations, the 2010 Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, called for increasing the proportion of nurses with bachelor's degrees to 80% by 2020 and doubling the number of nurses with doctorates. New York State aims to lead one trend in that direction, with nursing leaders lobbying for a bill requiring all new nurses to earn a bachelor's degree within 10 years of receiving licensure. Passage of the bill should have a “cascading effect” on other states, said Barbara Zittel, former executive secretary of the New York State Board of Nursing in a comment to timesunion.com (see http://bit.ly/onkHVO for the full article).
The notion of doctoral-level rather than master's-level education for advanced practice nurses is also gathering steam; 37 states now have doctor of nursing programs, and the number of graduates doubled from 2009 to 2010, according to American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Interprofessional education. Despite a 2001 Institute of Medicine report (Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century) urging academic institutions to prepare health professionals to work collaboratively, students in different health care professions still typically receive classroom and clinical training separately, in so-called silos. But this approach “is no longer tenable,” according to Daniel Wolfson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, in an address to the participants at a conference on team-based care. Conference attendees endorsed the core competencies drafted by a panel of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative and identified action steps for advancing interprofessional education and collaborative care, which they agreed is necessary for improving the quality and safety of patient care, especially in view of health care workforce shortages and increasing access to care supported by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Social media technology. In addition to enabling patients to find information on diseases, share experiences, and influence medical research (see the October 2011 AJN Reports), social media innovation is blossoming in other areas as well. The Mayo Clinic, for example, uses social media for internal communications, and the institution's popular YouTube channel educates the public on topics ranging from distracted driving to research and treatment updates. And at least one company will launch an application in 2012 that claims to eliminate the need for reading glasses (www.glassesoff.com).
The American Nurses Association and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing acknowledge that social networking can be a “positive tool” for nurses and their patients—but they offer caveats—and have united to create guidelines on social media and networking for nurses. In a joint press release (http://bit.ly/va4x8g), the groups cautioned that nurses “need to be aware of the potential consequences of disclosing patient-related information via social media” and maintain professional standards and compliance with state and federal laws.
A major accomplishment. Major General Patricia D. Horoho, the first woman and first nurse to be appointed surgeon general and commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command, assumed her duties in early December 2011, according to military sources at the Office of Strategic Communication. Look for a profile in an upcoming issue of AJN.—Karen Rosenberg, Gail M. Pfeifer, MA, RN, news director