The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Future of Nursing Report has long served as a tool to advance the profession of nursing in anticipation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With the passage of the ACA, millions more Americans gained access to healthcare, increasing the need for registered nurses to care for a diverse population in new ways.
One of the four key messages from the 2011 IOM report was that nurses need to be “full partners with physicians and other health professionals, in redesigning healthcare in the United States” (The Institute of Medicine, 2011). To be full partners in healthcare redesign, nurses need leadership skills and to be in leadership positions. The IOM reports that few nurses are in leadership roles in healthcare settings and on private boards of directors. The report provides strategies to increase nurse leadership at all levels.
The IOM also acknowledges that minorities are underrepresented in the profession of nursing (The Institute of Medicine, 2011). Professional underrepresentation coupled with a small number of nurses in leadership positions contribute to an even smaller number of members of racial and ethnic minorities in nursing and healthcare leadership. Understanding the demographics of the population and the profession of nursing will help lay the foundation for addressing the scarcity of minority nurse leaders in healthcare.
Authored by Khaliah Fisher-Grace, PhD(c), MSN, RN, CPHQ, PCCN-K