In an unprecedented collaboration, members of the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA), the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) and the Ohio Organization for Nurse Executives (OONE) have been bringing their experience and intellect together toward one important goal—to recommend strategic directions, objectives, and tactics that will enhance the profession of nursing in Ohio.

Ohio faces serious health care challenges that will require additional care, and a growing number of nursing vacancies is predicted to result in a 19% shortage of nurses in the state by 2015. Without intervention now to improve the work environment for nurses, change the way care is delivered, and transform nursing education and leadership capacities, the health care delivery system will struggle to provide high quality and safe health care to the residents of Ohio.

The Nursing 2015 collaborative includes OHA, OONE and ONA. OHA currently represents approximately 170 hospitals and 40 health systems throughout Ohio. OHA also has more than 1,900 personal members of 11 affiliated societies, one of which is OONE, a professional organization for nurse executives and managers. ONA is a membership organization that represents over 8,500 registered nurses and has been promoting and protecting nurses, the nursing profession and those who receive nursing care for 100 years.

Statement of Professional Nursing 2015©

Professional nurses are self-directed, accountable, and control their environment.  Nurses are professionally empowered to influence the delivery of high quality care that promotes positive patient outcomes through nursing leadership, coordination, and collaboration.  Nurses are adequate in number, diverse, highly educated, and valued as clinical leaders across the continuum.   The profession of nursing is respected and valued.  The practice environment is attractive, supportive of work life balance, flexible, and incorporates state-of-the-art technology.  Compensation and benefits are reflective of nurses’ contributions to the delivery of care.

Guiding Principles

  1. All stakeholders are “at the table” and actively participating.
  2. Frontline providers involved and their voices heard.
  3. The need for cultural changes is a key element in creating the future and is not overlooked or underestimated.
  4. Communication is ubiquitous and consistent.
  5. Changing processes and changing infrastructures lead to success.
  6. Nursing care is provided in many alternative venues. The acute care setting is one of many settings for care and will be one of the venues as opposed to the primary venue.
  7. Financial alignment between payers and providers accelerates change.
  8. Education and preparation for tomorrow’s nursing workforce changes in advance of the nursing practice changes and opportunities.
  9. Risk-taking is a prerequisite for creating tomorrow’s future.
Next Steps 
Since June 30, 2005, these groups have been working collaboratively to create, from concept to implementation, a vision for the future of nursing in Ohio and a strategy for making that vision a reality. The first effort of its kind in the U.S., leaders from all walks of the nursing profession, as well as industries that serve health care and patients, are coming together to address staffing issues and alleviate the perceived need for legislative mandates to solve professional issues.
Nursing 2015 promotes the improvement of the profession of nursing by:
  • helping nurses be self-directed, accountable and in control of their environment;
  • influencing the delivery of high-quality care to promote positive patient outcomes through nursing leadership; and
  • ensuring nurses are adequate in number, diverse, highly educated and valued as clinical leaders across the continuum.

Four teams, Yellow, Red, Blue and Green, will identify strategic plans to positively impact the future of nursing and transform nursing education, nursing leadership capacity, and the work environment and staffing culture of nursing positions.

Originally, the goal for this collaboration was to look at the staffing issues that confront ONA, OHA and OONE. But as the groups worked together, they realized they had more in common than they had differences so a broader perspective evolved.

 To achieve their Nursing 2015 vision, the 4 teams of volunteers are developing action plans focused on: 1) ways to ensure nurses are appropriately educated to fill their roles in a dynamic, evolving health care system; 2) improving the practice environment in both the physical and cultural sense; 3) preparing nurses to have and utilize the leadership skills needed to function effectively in the roles they will fill in the future. Ohio’s efforts are being watched and imitated by other states. To learn more about the initiative or to join one of the teams, visit the ONA Web site at www.ohnurses.org or www.FutureThink.org.

Strategic Direction

Yellow Team: Highly educated nurses are prepared to fulfill evolving roles in a dynamic health care system, and nursing resources meet increasing health care demands.


  • Achieve agreement from a coalition of practice, education leaders on essential education needed to meet evolving roles in a dynamic health care environment.
  • By 2015, at least 50% of practicing RNs will have achieved a BSN or higher degree.
  • Establish a strategic plan that will equip Ohio nurses with the competencies and skills to enable them to be effective leaders in their profession and beyond.

Red Team: Worksite standards support quality nursing care in an ergonomically safe environment with the end result being better consumer outcomes.


  • Establish and promulgate standards for all new-build and renovated health care facilities to protect staff from workplace injuries.
  • Issue a white paper pinpointing impediments to effective work flow and communication and proposing model processes and best practices across the continuum of care.

Green Team: Nurses are independently and collectively recognized for the leadership and value they bring to achieving high quality care and positive outcomes.


  • Revise nursing reimbursement away from traditional models by creating new models for reimbursement incorporating the concepts of quality; pay for performance based on clinical, financial, and service outcomes; resource requirements; and wellness promotion.
  • Implement a statewide public relations campaign to educate Ohioans about nurses’ contribution to the health and wellbeing of all Ohio citizens.

Blue Team: Practice, culture, conditions and benefits provide a win-win for nurses, consumers, and the organizations.


  • Create a comprehensive, common frame of reference for developing appropriate staffing including a definition of work load elements and critical thinking not captured on traditional measurement tools or staff ratio assignments.
  • Define the elements of a highly attractive practice culture that are adopted by OONE/OHA/ONA and implemented and sustained within each organization’s sphere of influence.

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