Michigan's Regional Action Coalition (RAC)
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine
The ultimate goal of the Initiative on the Future of Nursing is to improve how health care is delivered to better meet the needs of all patients. The Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine was tasked with creating a blueprint on the role of nurses in the design and improvement of public and institutional policies at the national, state and local levels.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine was chaired by University of Miami President, Donna Shalala and vice-chair Cedars-Sinai Health System and Research Institute Vice-President and Chief Nursing Officer, Linda Burnes Bolton. For a complete list of committee members and their bios, please visit www.iom.edu/nursing
Over a two year period, the Committee held three national forums, each focusing on a critical aspect of health care including acute care; community health, primary care and long term care; and nursing education. Each of the forums provided a platform for stakeholders to share their knowledge and express their concerns about the current health care system. In addition to the forums the committee members also participated in technical workshops that provided them with the opportunity to delve into complex issues to better understand the challenges facing the nursing profession.
The Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, released in October 2010, included recommendations for a plethora of system improvements including proven, solution-oriented ways to address the nursing and nurse faculty shortages in the U.S. The report’s recommendations are aimed at utilizing the benefits of nurse-led models of care throughout the health care system. The recommendations also focus on the role of nurses in health care promotion, disease prevention and end of life care, including avoiding conditions that are more affordable to treat at the outset.
Among the findings were that a number of barriers prevent nurses from being able to respond effectively to rapidly changing health care settings and an evolving health care system. These barriers need to be overcome to ensure that nurses are well positioned to lead change and advance health. The Committee gave 4 main recommendations:
1. Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training
2. Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that
promotes seamless academic progression
3. Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health care professionals, in redesigning
healthcare in the United States
4. Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and an improved information
To move the recommendations forward RWJF held a National Summit on Advancing Health through Nursing in Washington DC in November. Just prior to the Summit RWJF selected 5 states to pilot strategies for increasing awareness and understanding of the Initiative on the Future of Nursing and to implement the recommendations from the report where needed and appropriate in their state. These 5 states are called Regional Action Coalitions (RACs). The states are California, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York and Michigan.
We are very honored to have been named one of the first RACs. There is much work to be done but many have stepped forward to help. We have convened a steering committee for the RAC, for a complete list of RAC members …… Michigan has been working on many of these nursing issues since the development of the Michigan Agenda for Nursing xxxlink developed in 2005. Many organizations, task forces and subcommittees have put in countless hours working on ways to help Michigan have safe and quality health care for our residents . Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Center to Champion Nursing in America (www. ) and nursing organizations are working on a campaign to engage stakeholders at the state and national levels and educate them about the recommendations to drive sustained change in healthcare delivery. We need to educate both nurses and non nurses, all stakeholders about the role nurses can play in achieving better health for all Americans. This means engaging the right nurses in the right roles. To do this we need to increase the supply of highly qualified nurses ready to lead and/or engage in implementation efforts, and prepare nurses to take on these new roles.
As the work in Michigan progresses we will keep you informed on what is happening in Michigan and in the nation around the Initiative on the Future of Nursing.