National Academy Of Medicine

The Future of Nursing 2020-2030

Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity, the NAM and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation continue their steadfast collaboration toward promoting a culture of health for all. Both organizations believe that uneven access to conditions needed for good health across the United States has been well documented, as have the poor effects on health that result. The growing visibility of the impacts of systemic racism in almost every aspect of people’s lives—policing, health care, the economy, education—is evident. Now more than ever, the nation sees clearly the need for an equitable, just, and fair society—one that promotes racial equity, as well as equity across circumstances, communities, and abilities. The good news is that so many of us are asking, “How can we do better? How can I do better?” In a time marked by COVID-19’s unprecedented global health challenges, nurses have stepped up—many times at great personal cost to themselves.

Nurses have seen firsthand this disease’s inequitable impact on those they serve. They have also experienced firsthand COVID-19’s inequitable impact on the profession. Nurses are more likely to die than are other health care profes- sionals, and nurses of color are far more likely to die. As this report points out with compelling evidence, nurses can play a central role in addressing these in- equities across the entire spectrum. The nation cannot achieve true health equity without nurses, which means it must do better for nurses. They must be supported in charting a path for themselves while they work to serve others. This report is intended to do just that.

The Report

This report calls on many within and around the nursing community to take more definitive action on eliminating systemic racism, whether in schools, institutions, or the profession and its associations. Nurses are powerful in number and in voice and the world needs their actions now more than ever on how individuals, families, and communities might best be served in a more equitable fashion.  And in asking nurses to play a central leadership role, I am reminded of the importance of nurse well-being. Nurses have been called on to do so much in this last year throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and the nation must support them, including by giving them all the necessary tools and equipment to do their job in the best way possible.

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