Two New Studies Examine Impact of IOM Report
Researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services in December 2013 produced two studies measuring how well hospitals and other health care facilities are responding to the changes of the nursing profession.
The first study examined the degree to which health care employers are implementing the IOM recommendation of achieving a workforce in which 80 percent of nurses have a BSN by 2020. The second study looked at the extent to which health care employers are adopting nurse residency programs, another recommendation of the IOM report.
In the first study, researchers surveyed almost 500 nurse executives from hospitals, nurse-led clinics, and home and hospice care companies. Of the nurse executives surveyed, 80 percent said that their institutions preferred or required newly hired nurses to have a BSN. In addition, 94 percent of those surveyed reported that their organizations offered some type of tuition reimbursement to those nurses who are looking to complete their BSN. The researchers concluded that health care employers need to adopt stronger policies to encourage more nurses to earn BSN or advanced degrees. They recommended giving higher wages to reward nurses who’ve worked to get a BSN and/or advanced degrees.
The second study, “Healthcare Employers’ Policies on Nurse Education,” focused on the adoption of nurse residency programs among health care employers and was published in the Journal of Nursing Administration. In 2011, 37 percent of hospital nurse executives interviewed for the study stated that their hospitals already had a nurse residency program in place. Four-fifths of those hospitals found funding for the program in-house. The study also found that hospitals with a residency program in place were more likely to offer other training programs as well. Three obstacles were mentioned by nurse executives at hospitals without a residency program: financial constraints, taking senior staff away from other work, and a shortage of faculty who can supervise new nurses as they learn best practices.
Both studies were funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing.