Policy Briefing

The Future of Nursing Report, 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity

Posted 5/27/2021
On May 11, 2021, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released their report The Future of Nursing, 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity (the “FON Report”).

On May 11, 2021, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released their report The Future of Nursing, 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity (the “FON Report”). The FON Report, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation builds upon the 2011 Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The report committee outlines the importance of nurses and how the role of nurses will be forced to adapt to the needs of society with a strong focus on social determinants of health. , The committee believes that health equity can be achieved through the strengthening of nursing, both in capacity and expertise.    

The report references multiple initiatives of NCSBN, linking the initiatives toward the goal of achieving health equity. The report recommends removing barriers to APRN full practice authority and calls for the nationwide adoption of the Nurse Licensure Compact as well as for the use of federal authority to supersede restrictive state laws related to scope of practice.  Also recommended by the committee is the adoption of a National Nurse Identifier, such as the NCSBN ID, to provide better measurements of the value of services provided by RNs.  

The committee calls on NCSBN to ensure that the licensing exam contains questions to assess nurses’ ability to address social determinants of health and the needs of the community. In response to public health emergencies and disasters, the committee recommends that the nursing workforce be both strengthened and protected to address health inequities. NCSBN is called upon to include more content in licensing examinations to cover potential responsibilities of nurses in disaster response. 

NCSBN research projects are highlighted throughout the report. The National Nursing Workforce Survey is used to demonstrate the racial and ethnic diversity within the newer classes of LPNs, an important step towards achieving health equity according to the committee. The results of the National Simulation Study was used to promote the committee’s belief that poverty and other health inequities can be addressed through simulation-based education. Additionally, the committee used research from NCSBN’s Regulatory Guidelines and Evidence-based Quality Indicators for Nursing Education Programs to support their vision for a broader understanding of quality nursing education.  

Lastly, the report addresses substance use disorder among nurses, citing NCSBN’s Outcome of Substance Use Disorder Monitoring Programs for Nurses as a resource for best practices for alternative to discipline program completion as well as the NCSBN’s Components of Nurse Substance Use Disorder Monitoring Programs which highlights the need for additional research into alternatives to discipline programs and more consistency across states. Successfully addressing substance use disorder is essential in prioritizing the health and well-being of the nursing workforce. 

A full summary is available on the Policy Knowledge Network.