08 March 2010

Transforming and creating the future of learning in nursing

A number of significant studies are emerging about the need to transform nursing education. One recently published study is the Carnegie report titled Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation. Another activity that is taking place is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine. I plan to keep up with the developments of these initiatives and am anxious to see what evolves. Consider bookmarking the link for the RWJF initiative to your favorites list or visit the initiative’s blog periodically. Better yet, engage in the dialogue and conversation.

Any transformation or “future-casting” of nursing needs to be framed within the greater context of the anticipated forces that will affect education. If you have not yet explored the Map of Future Forces Affecting Education, visit this Web site and think about how these predictions might influence and impact the reforms called for in the RWJF and Carnegie initiatives.

The map was developed by the KnowledgeWorks Foundation in collaboration with the Institute for the Future to stimulate conversations and prompt foresight, insight and action among stakeholders concerned about the future of education. The map has been described as a “conversation catalyst” or “thinking tool” to stimulate scenario development and storytelling about possible futures in the world of education.

The future-forces map outlines possible developments in five areas: 1) Family and community; 2) markets; 3) institutions; 4) education and learning; and 5) tools and practices. Each of these areas is cross-referenced or cross-impact-analyzed against six drivers of change that are predicted to impact developments in education.

The change drivers are: 1) evolution and expansion of a grassroots economy; 2) emergence and ongoing development of smart networking, social networking and connecting technologies; 3) positive and negative opinions, played out in a global media configuration, that simplifies complex issues; 4) tension and polarity between a health or illness orientation; 5) impact and influence of urban versus rural living environments; and 6) merging and integration of physical and digital information through connective media and social networks.

Consider the elements of KnowledgeWorks Foundation’s “2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning.” Attention to the Map of Future Forces Affecting Education requires effort, curiosity and a commitment to understand future forces that will shape and influence policy, practice and education reform among those invested in transforming and creating the future of learning in the nursing profession. With so much attention and creative thought being generated about transformation in nursing, it is clear that changes are inevitable and creative mindsets will be needed to see us through.

For Reflections on Nursing Leadership, published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.