On November 9th 2010, I attended the Pinnacle Lecture Series in the Fulton Honors Library. Dr. Terry Fulmer, dean of New York University College of Nursing, was the guest speaker. Her lecture was about the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health”.  This report encapsulates all the different ways in which we can help improve the future of nursing, especially by starting on the individual level.  Throughout the lecture, Dr. Fulmer elaborated on the context of the report so that we, the audience, could gain more insight on it.

Dr. Fulmer began her lecture with some statistics regarding the current completion rates for nursing graduate programs.  Only seven percent of nurses have their master’s degree and three percent have their PhD’s.  Moreover, the male to female ratio in nursing still remains unequal.  The statistics reassert the need for more nurses with higher academic degrees and for more males in the profession.  Some of the projects in progress are: building the healthcare workforce, creating an analysis of the nursing academic setting, focusing on the new healthcare bill and how it helps with our vision, and creating opportunities to increase health care access and to provide quality care.  As a subset for these projects, Dr. Fulmer explained a list of recommendations formulated in the IOM report to help attain these goals.  Some of the recommendations are as follows:

  • Expanding opportunities for nurses to lead and diffuse collaborative efforts
  • Implementing nurse residency programs
  • Doubling the number of nurses with a doctorate degree by 2020, which will also help in increasing salaries
  • Ensuring that nurses are engaging in lifelong learning
  • Preparing and enabling nurses to lead change to advance health

After the recommendations were presented, Dr. Fulmer briefly discussed some of the ideas that they developed in terms of implementation.  These included: setting up five pilot states who will be part of the regional action coalition, having a national summit, and holding regional awareness meetings to discuss the progress of the report as time goes on.  To see the complete report you can go to: http://iom.edu/Reports/2010/The-Future-of-Nursing-Leading-Change-Advancing-Health.aspx

I was very glad to attend this program because it helped me see another side of nursing I was not very familiar with.  I personally found the issues Dr. Fulmer discussed rather important and it enabled me to think of how I, a young nursing student, will be able to carry on the torch and uphold the legacy our current nursing leaders are leaving us with.  I think programs like the Pinnacle Lecture Series are needed in making nursing students aware of the current health care situation and in preparing them to face the “real world”.  I look forward to the future and hope to reach my fullest potential while improving the future of nursing.

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