Educational Advancement for Registered Nurses

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Executive Summary

ANA-Illinois supports the action report adopted at the ANA House of Delegates in 2008 and the 2010 recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Future of Nursing Report on educational advancement for registered nurses (RNs).

The ANA House of Delegates (O’Brien & Gural, 2008) recommended increasing the level of education required for continued registration as a registered nurse by requiring registered nurses (RNs) to attain a baccalaureate degree in nursing within ten years after initial licensure while maintaining the multiple entry points into the profession. The purpose of requiring the baccalaureate degree for continued registration as a registered nurse is to be responsive to meet the increasingly complex health care needs of the residents of the U.S. Registered nurses currently licensed or enrolled in a nursing program would be exempt from the baccalaureate degree requirement (p. 9).

In the 2010 report, Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health (Institute of Medicine, 2010) the IOM recommended several actions and goals regarding educational advancement of RNs:

    Recommendation #4: “Increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2010. Academic nurse leaders across all schools of nursing should work together to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree from 50 to 80 percent by 2020. These leaders should partner with education accrediting bodies, private and public funders, and employers to ensure funding, monitor progress, and increase the diversity of student to create a workforce prepared to meet the demands of diverse populations across the lifespan” (p. 3-4).

    Recommendation #5: “Double the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020. Schools of nursing, with support from private and public funders, academic administrators and university trustees, and accrediting bodies, should double the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020 to add to the cadre of nurse faculty and researchers, with attention to increasing diversity” (p. 4).

    Recommendation #6: “Ensure that nurses engage in lifelong learning. Accrediting bod¬ies, schools of nursing, health care organizations, and continuing competency educators from multiple health professions should collaborate to ensure that nurses and nursing students and faculty continue their education and engage in lifelong learning to gain the competencies needed to provide care for diverse populations across the lifespan” (p. 5).