Nursing’s top 10 pressing issues

Like many other healthcare professions, nursing is at a crossroads. Rapidly evolving regulatory, political, demographic, social and technological forces are challenging nurses in ways that have a huge impact on their ability to advance nursing’s critical role in our nation’s healthcare.

A newly released book, “The Power of Ten—2011-2013: Nurse Leaders Address the Profession’s 10 Most Pressing Issues,” takes on hot button topics, with input from more than 30 international nurse leaders. The thought-provoking, timely publication is intended to get a discussion going, according to its publisher, the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.

The top 10 issues addressed include:

  • Evidence-based practice: Harmful or helpful?
  • What impact does technology have on nursing?
  • Should a bachelor’s degree be the minimum level of education?
  • DNP vs. PhD
  • Attaining a seat at the policy table
  • Coping with growing ethical demands
  • Improving workplace culture
  • How do nurse leaders affect the profession?
  • Closing the workforce age gap
  • How to make the profession as diverse as the population

The book aims to be provocative, challenging readers to engage their critical thinking and formulate possible responses to help position nursing leadership to undertake thoughtful and informed action—in other words, to advocate. For example, in the chapter on attaining a seat at the policy table, a discussion point is presented: “Every aspect of a nurse’s practices is regulated by policy. What are the three policy rules or regulations from your organization or state that you’d lobby to change for nursing?” And, in the chapter on evidenced-based practice, this discussion point is posed: “Does evidence-based practice decrease a nurse’s ability to determine care based on how she sees a patient respond?”

Nurses featured in the book don’t hold back in their viewpoints on the state of their profession. “[We need to avoid] glorifying credentials over contributions,” posits one nurse while another says “[It is a challenge that nursing professionals are unable] to act and work together cohesively. [We have become a] fractionated profession that has limited professional power.”

It’s a fast, compelling read and one I’d recommend to anyone with a stake in the future of the U.S. healthcare system.

To obtain a copy of the book and join the conversation, go to

Topics: Executive Leadership , Staffing