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Studies assess impact of IOM report on nursing reforms
Date:12/5/2013

WASHINGTON, DC (December 5, 2013)--Two new studies by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) examine how well hospitals and other health care facilities are doing when it comes to a call to reform the nursing profession. A 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report warned that the nursing profession must change or it would not be able to meet the growing demands that are emerging as a result of health reform, new technologies and an aging population.

In the first study, Patricia Pittman, PhD, an associate professor of health policy at SPHHS, and her colleagues examined the degree to which health care employers have implemented one key IOM recommendationthe goal of achieving a workforce in which 80 percent of nurses have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) by the year 2020. Nurses need more educational training in order to handle greater responsibilities and the increased complexity of the health care system, the IOM report noted. To achieve the 80 percent goal, the IOM suggested that health facilities take a series of measures to encourage nurses with an associate's degree to complete a BSN.

To find out how well that recommendation had been faring in the real world, Pittman's team surveyed 447 nurse executives in hospitals, nurse-led clinics and home and hospice care companies. The researchers found that nearly 80 percent of those surveyed said that their institutions preferred or required newly hired nurses to have a bachelor's degree. In addition, the study found that 94 percent of facilities offered some level of tuition reimbursement to encourage nurses to go on and complete a BSN.

Only 25 percent, however, required nurses to earn a BSN within a period of time, a key part of the IOM recommendation. And only 9 percent offered a pay differential to nurses who complete a BSN.

The authors conclude that if health care employers are serious about wanting a more highly
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Contact: Kathy Fackelmann
kfackelmann@gwu.edu
202-994-8354
George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services
Source:Eurekalert

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