Category Archives: Charting Nursing's Future

Apr 14 2014

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Sep 30 2013

Making Nurses’ Academic Progression a Reality

Maryjoan Ladden, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


There is near-universal agreement among health care stakeholders and experts that the country needs to grow the number of primary care providers. If the health care system is to meet the growing demand for care that will result from the greying of the Baby Boomers and the influx of millions of newly insured Americans, we're going to need a bigger, better-prepared health care workforce.

That’s a point the 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, made very clearly with respect to nurses. That landmark report also pointed out that health care is becoming increasingly complex as our understanding of illness grows and as the tools and systems we have available to combat it change and evolve.

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Apr 22 2013

Meet the Charting Nursing’s Future Policy Brief Series

This is part of a series introducing programs in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio.

What policies optimize nurses' role in solving the shortage of primary care practitioners? What approaches will promote and incentivize interprofessional education and practice in health care so as to improve the quality and safety of care? What promising state and federal initiatives are likely to achieve the Institute of Medicine's recommendation to increase the proportion of nurses who hold a baccalaureate or higher degree to 80 percent by the year 2020?

These and other crucial issues confronting nursing and the health care system are the focus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Charting Nursing’s Future policy briefs. Launched in 2005, the series now includes 20 briefs covering a range of topics, including:

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Feb 19 2013

RWJF’s First 40 Years Investing in Nurses and Nursing

For more than four decades, the grantmaking of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has advanced the nursing profession, supporting nurses in their efforts to improve care and strengthening nurses’ role in shaping the future of the nation’s health care system. The latest issue of Charting Nursing’s Future, RWJF’s periodic series of issue briefs, tracks the Foundation’s growing commitment to nursing.

The brief examines RWJF’s impact in five distinct areas:

  • Expanding roles for nurses;
  • Building educational capacity;
  • Demonstrating nurses' contributions to quality and safety;
  • Creating leaders for the 21st century; and
  • Bridging gaps in research and data.

Among the two dozen past and present programs highlighted in the brief:

  • Expanding roles. In the mid-1970s, RWJF played a critical role in the emergence and acceptance of nurse practitioners (NPs), supporting demonstration projects in rural areas of California, Alabama, Tennessee and New England. Subsequently, RWJF’s Nurse Faculty Fellowship Program helped create an intellectual home for primary care nursing, leading to the creation of master’s degree NP programs across the nation.

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Aug 28 2012

Nurses' Evolving Role in Primary Care

While policy-makers in Washington and in state capitals across the nation have been embroiled in a debate over health care reform, many aspects of the health care system have been evolving in response to economic and demographic pressures. The latest issue of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s ongoing Charting Nursing’s Future (CNF) series of policy briefs highlights a number of examples of that evolution, all related to nurses’ changing role in primary care.

The Institute of Medicine’s landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change Advancing Health, noted that nurses “are poised to help bridge the gap between coverage and access, to coordinate increasingly complex care for a wide range of patients, to fulfill their potential as primary care providers to the full extent of their education and training, and to enable the full economic value of their contributions across practice settings to be realized.” In fact, as the CNF brief points out, “Nurses are already leading the way in keeping patients healthy, managing their diseases, and reducing their use of costly hospital care by increasing the availability and scope of primary care services.”

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Feb 9 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Taking the scare out of dental care for kids, stroke-related memory loss, and more.

Here’s a sampling of recent news coverage of the work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars and Fellows:

“As a physician, I have seen the tremendous capabilities of nurses—capabilities that are essential to meeting patient needs,” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, writes in Medscape [free subscription]. “But to ensure that they maximize their contributions to health and health care, nurses will need advanced skills and expertise in care management, interdisciplinary teamwork, problem solving, and more. This makes higher levels of education imperative. In addition, having a larger pool of highly educated nurses will be necessary to expand the ranks of nurse faculty, addressing the shortfall that now causes nursing schools to turn away thousands of qualified applicants each year. These advanced degree nurses are also needed to help ameliorate the worsening primary care shortage.”

RWJF Clinical Scholars program alumna Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP, continues to receive media coverage for her work to map Philadelphia’s automated external defibrillators (AEDs) through the MyHeartMap Challenge. The Philadelphia CBS bureau and the Daily Pennsylvanian are among the outlets to report on the project. Read a post Merchant wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about the MyHeartMap Challenge.

RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Alexia Green, RN, PhD, FAAN, spoke to about how the Texas Action Coalition—which she co-leads—is working to advance the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report. Learn more about the Action Coalitions across the country, and watch a series of videos highlighting their goals and ongoing work.

Patient outcomes are better at hospitals with higher proportions of registered nurses, RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Matthew McHugh, PhD, JD, MPH, RN, CRNP, told the Philadelphia Inquirer, and hospitals should “foster a culture that encourages employees to get more training, have good communication among nurses, physicians and managers, have enough people to do the work, and provide nurses with the tools they need.”

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Jan 12 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: RWJF Scholars in the Media Discussing Children's Playgrounds, Women's Health Costs, and Much More

Here’s a sampling of recent news coverage of the work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars and Fellows:

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Senior Program Officer Maryjoan Ladden, PhD, RN, FAAN, was a guest blogger for The Doctor Weighs In, posting about the importance of interprofessional collaboration and coordination, drawing on the latest edition of Charting Nursing’s Future. Ladden is also an alumna of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program.

RWJF Health & Society Scholars program National Advisory Committee member Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, wrote an op-ed for the Austin American Statesman about Salud America, an RWJF research network working to prevent obesity among Latino children.

Gary A. Taubes, MSE, MS, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, was featured in an Orlando Sentinel four-part special report about why so many Americans are obese. The series examined what we eat, the influence of heredity, lifestyle and the environment. Taubes is the author of “Why We Get Fat.” Read more about Taubes’ work.

The reasons that some playgrounds don’t appeal to children are explored in new research by RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars alumna Kristen A. Copeland, MD, FAAP. MedPage Today reports on the study’s findings. Reuters and United Press International (UPI) also reported on Copeland’s research. Read about Copeland’s research on factors that impede physical activity in child care settings.

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Sep 14 2011

Latest Charting Nursing's Future Brief Focuses on IOM's Recommendations for Nurses' Educational Progression

Following up on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s landmark Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report, the latest edition of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Charting Nursing’s Future series focuses on increasing the formal education of the nation’s nursing workforce. Perhaps most notably, the report calls for greater emphasis on bachelor’s and doctoral degrees, and sets specific targets to be achieved by 2020. Among those targets: increasing the share of the nursing workforce with a bachelor’s or higher degree to 80 percent, and doubling the current percentage of nurses with doctoral degrees.

As the new Charting Nursing’s Future brief observes, these goals “will require fundamental changes: new competency-based curricula; seamless educational progression; more funding for accelerated programs, educational capacity building, and student diversity; and stronger employer incentives to spur progression.” The publication covers each of these topics in detail, discussing key challenges and solutions, and offering success stories from programs already in place.

The issue is the first of four that will focus on implementing Future of Nursing recommendations.

To subscribe to free delivery of future editions to your email inbox, visit An archive of past editions is available here.