Society in 2021 has been challenged by an economic crisis and the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Today, nurses must have an arsenal of tools and knowledge—and the ability to adapt in unpredictable circumstances—to assist patients seeking health care. 

To guide the future of nursing practice, an expert committee from the National Academy of Medicine updated the Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health’s original endorsements to include key factors, such as the role of nurses in response to emergencies that arise from natural and manmade disasters and the impact on health equity. 

The committee examined lessons learned from the Future of Nursing Campaign for Action and the current state of science and technology to form its assessment of the profession’s capacity to meet the anticipated health and social care demands from 2020–2030, including the:

  • Role of nurses in addressing social determinants of health and providing effective, efficient, equitable, and accessible care for all individuals, families, and communities

  • System facilitators and barriers to achieving the continuum of care 

  • Current and future deployment of nurses at all levels across the care continuum, including in collaborative practice models, to address the challenges of building a culture of health 

  • Training and competency development needed to prepare nurses, including advanced practice RNs, to work outside acute care settings and lead efforts to build health equity and the extent to which current curricula meet these needs 

  • Research needed to identify or develop effective nursing practices for eliminating gaps and disparities in health care

With critical changes taking place around us, nurses must keep their education at the forefront while marching toward health equity. ONS members can access additional resources on the educational standards of oncology as they look to the future of the profession and health care.