Leadership and the Great Reset

Rethinking Possibilities for the Future of Nursing

Karlene M. Kerfoot, PhD, RN, FAAN


Nurs Econ. 2022;40(1):38-41. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The pandemic didn't cause nurse turnover, feeling unappreciated and exploited, inadequate staffing, etc. It magnified existing problems. It is time to reset our profession, capture the knowledge gained in this crisis, and vow never to return to the old, comfortable, and ineffective ways of doing business in health care.


Yogi Berra once said, "The future ain't what it used to be." That message is valid for our future. Multi-factors, such as climate change, COVID-19 pandemic, and inflation have turned the world upside down. We can't depend on solutions from the past to solve new challenges. We must reconsider our biases and address them based on the needs of our populations, nurses' needs, and what we have learned about diversity, equity, inclusion, and the global healthcare system.

This special issue provides a perfect forum for us to rethink, pivot, and redesign a preferred future for nursing worldwide rather than exist at the mercy of forces and trends that determine what nursing will or won't become. The survival of nursing as a viable, self-determined part of the future healthcare system will be questionable. We need to welcome uncertainty and challenge past mental models to view the new reality free of ingrained stereotypes. We can no longer operate in islands and silos to be effective as nurses, global citizens, and professionals.

The pandemic didn't cause many of the challenges we face today in health care. International shortages of caregivers, inadequate staffing, cumbersome technology, job dissatisfaction, burnout and turnover, and lack of diversity have been with us for years but have not been addressed adequately. Hence, the issues remain. Every crisis (fire, flood, pandemic, blizzard) worsens the challenges. However, if we scientifically think through what has happened and agree to look for solutions radically and realistically, we can create the preferred future we all want.

We know nurses play a significant and influential role internationally and nationally in addressing issues that have created a worldwide nursing shortage and an inadequate global healthcare system that falters in the face of the COVID pandemic and other crises.

What if we don't have nurses in the future? A fractured workforce will be unable to rise and address the global issues that got us here – dissatisfaction, feeling unsafe at work, nursing turnover, etc. Without strong, highly engaged professionals, nursing will not have the strength to collaborate effectively with future visionaries and policymakers who will emerge from this pandemic.

Now is a crucial time to rethink, reevaluate, and reset our planning so we can recreate a profession of local, national, and international leaders that support the concepts of health equity, diversity, and inclusion within nursing. Five areas must be addressed immediately to reset the future, the quality of patient care, and the joy of practice.