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Nurs Econ. 2012 Nov-Dec;30(6):318-29, quiz 330.

Are nurses ready for health care reform? A decade of survey research.

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Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies, Institute for Medicine and Public Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.


As health care delivery organizations react to the changes brought about by public and private sector reform initiatives, RNs can anticipate that, in addition to intended outcomes, there will be unpredictable pressures and unintended consequences arising from reform. Biennial national surveys of RNs conducted over the past decade have explored various changes in the nursing workforce, quality of the workplace environment, staffing and payment policies, and RNs' views of health policy, including their expectations of health reform. The latest survey results offer a picture of RNs' capacity to practice successfully in a care delivery environment that, over the current decade, is expected to emphasize teams, care coordination, and become driven increasingly by payment incentives that reward quality, safety, and efficiency. If RNs are provided with strong clinical leadership, participate in developing an achievable vision of the future, and if supported to take risks and innovate to improve the quality and efficiency of care delivery, then the profession is likely to thrive rather than struggle during the health reform years that lie ahead. Increasing the education and preparation of nursing leaders, and particularly unit-level managers, will be increasingly vital for nursing to prosper in the future.

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