Category Archives: Recruitment and retention

Dec 5 2013

California State University Feels the Pain of Nurse Faculty Shortage

Mirroring national trends, the California State University (CSU) system is turning away qualified nursing school applicants due to faculty shortages, reports the Los Angeles Daily News, and CSU officials fear that the situation will worsen the nurse shortage in a state that already has one of the country’s lowest numbers of nurses per capita.

This fall, CSU Long Beach had a nursing program acceptance rate of 18 percent, having received 450 applications for 82 slots. CSU Northridge had a “very highly qualified” pool of 300 applicants but could only accept 60. CSU Chico had to turn down 86 percent of its fully qualified applicants, while CSU San Marcos turned away nearly 89 percent.

“Let me put it this way, we have over 1,200 pre-nursing students,” Dwight Sweeney, interim chairman of nursing at CSU San Bernardino, told the Daily News. “I can only take about 108 a year. In the fall, we had over 600 applicants for 44 positions. Realistically, we are turning away people with 3.6 and 3.7 GPAs. And I think that story is playing out on CSU campuses everywhere.”

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Nov 14 2013

Human Capital News Roundup: Retail clinics, urban crime, diversity in medicine, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast, and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni, and grantees. Some recent examples:

As the demand for nurses continues to grow and more people go into the field, it is important to encourage a focus on community-based health and population health, Yvonne VanDyke, MSN, RN, told Austin, Texas, NBC affiliate KXAN. Van Dyke is an RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow and senior vice president of the Seton Clinical Education Center in Austin, which is seeking to increase the number of nurses earning Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees.

A new program funded by the RWJF New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) is enlisting ex-military members to help enroll people in insurance plans in the state. NJHI Director Robert Atkins, PhD, RN, an RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar alumnus, told New Jersey Spotlight that veterans are well suited to the job of insurance-application counselors because “they know about service, they know about working in teams.” The New Jersey Hospital Association is hiring 25 veterans as certified applications counselors with the $1.8 million NJHI grant.

Diverse Education profiles RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Scholar alumnus and National Advisory Committee member Levi Watkins Jr., MD, about his work to promote diversity at Johns Hopkins Hospital. “The best way to recruit minority students is by example … and the intervention of mentors,” Watkins said. “Students don’t look at recruitment and diversity offices when they are choosing schools, but they want to see if there are faculty and students in the place that look like them.”

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Nov 5 2013

In RN Survey, Younger Nurses Are Positive About Profession, Education

Staffing company AMN Healthcare has released the results of its 2013 Survey of Registered Nurses, highlighting generational differences that have implications for the imminent nursing shortage and the shape of the profession in years to come.

Among key findings, nearly 190,000 nurses may leave nursing or retire now that the economy is recovering, and nearly one in four nurses age 55 and older (23 percent) say they will change their work dramatically by retiring or pursuing work in another field.

Fewer than half the RNs with an associate degree or diploma who were surveyed say they will pursue additional education in nursing. However, younger and mid-career nurses are more likely to do so. The landmark Institute of Medicine report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, recommends that 80 percent of the nation’s nurses have BSN or higher degrees by the year 2020.

While nurses of all ages say they are very satisfied with their career choice, younger nurses (19-39) are much more positive than nurses 55 and older about the quality of nursing today. Sixty-six percent of nurses 55 and older say they believe that nursing care has generally declined.

“The younger generation is more optimistic about the profession and more receptive to the changes the industry is experiencing,” Marcia Faller, PhD, RN, chief financial officer of AMN Healthcare, told Advance for Nurses. “These are differences that health systems must understand as they work with multiple generations of nurses.”

This was the fourth annual RN survey conducted by AMN Healthcare, which emailed 101,431 surveys in April to opted-in members of and The company received 3,413 responses, reflecting a response rate of 3.36 percent. Statistical analyses were run with a 95 percent confidence threshold.

See the survey results from AMN Healthcare.
Read coverage of the survey in Advance for Nurses.

What do you think about the survey findings? Do they reflect your views about the future of nursing? Register below to leave a comment.

Sep 24 2013

Accelerating to Practice: Helping Nurses Succeed

The National League for Nursing (NLN) last week announced the launch of a new program that will focus on improving the transition of new nurses from education to practice. The “Accelerating to Practice” program is the inaugural program of NLN’s Center for Academic and Clinical Transitions.

A team of experts from nursing education and the nation’s leading hospitals and health systems will draw on existing research to define the competencies new nurses need to be successful on the job. They will develop program courses and content that will be disseminated to the field for implementation in college curricula and/or new staff orientations by 2015.

“The demands placed on today's practicing nurses are intensifying, with sicker patients, more complicated treatments, and electronic medical records all adding new layers of complexity to basic nursing care,” NLN CEO Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, said in a news release. The NLN Center for Academic and Clinical Transitions “will build a bridge between those providing nursing education and those directing nurses in practice. Together, we can develop the solutions and tools today's students need to flourish in this demanding field.”

The NLN Center for Academic and Clinical Transitions is supported by grants from Laerdal Medical and Wolters Kluwer Health. 

Read a news release about the program.

Sep 11 2013

Primary Care Physicians in Demand, Salaries Rising

For years, medical students have been choosing specialties over primary care at a rate that has alarmed experts concerned about a shortage of primary care providers. Two new surveys shed light on the primary care workforce.

Primary care physicians were the most actively recruited professionals within the physician and advanced practitioner recruiting market by the health care staffing firm Merritt Hawkins & Associates from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013. Merritt Hawkins recently released a report summarizing the trends among its 3,097 recruiting assignments in 48 states conducted during that time period. For the seventh consecutive year, family physicians and general internists were the top two most requested physicians, the report says.

The firm also notes a rise in demand for physician assistants and nurse practitioners, as well as an acute shortage of psychiatrists.

In addition to being in high demand, another survey from the Hays Group, a global management consulting firm, finds primary care physicians could see a higher salary increase than specialists in 2014. The growth will be even greater for primary care physicians in hospital-based settings, the report says.

Read a summary of the Merritt Hawkins report.
Read a news release about the Hays Group survey.

Jun 27 2013

Love My Job … But Not My Salary: A Snapshot of America’s Public Health Nurses

A report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) finds the nation’s public health nurses report very high levels of job satisfaction and feel they are making a difference in their communities. But they also report concerns about job stability, compensation, and lack of opportunities for promotion in light of budget-tightening at many state and local health departments.


The findings come from the new report, Enumeration and Characterization of the Public Health Nurse Workforce: Findings of the 2012 Public Health Nurse Workforce Surveys. It was produced by the University of Michigan Center of Excellence in Public Health Workforce Studies and funded by RWJF. It is the first comprehensive assessment of the size, composition, educational background, experience, retirement intention, job function, and job satisfaction of nurses who work for state and local health departments.


The new study also finds that more than two in five public health departments report having “a great deal of difficulty” hiring nurses, and nearly as many state and local health departments report having insufficient resources to fill vacant nurse positions.

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Mar 21 2013

Physician Turnover at Highest Rate Since 2005

An annual Physician Retention Survey from Cejka Search and the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) finds that medical groups had an average physician turnover rate of 6.8 percent in 2012, up from 6.5 percent in 2011 and the highest rate since 2005. The increased turnover correlates with the nation’s economic recovery; improvements in the housing market and recovery in stock prices may have made physicians more likely to move or retire, experts say.

The survey, which drew responses from 80 medical organizations that collectively employ more than 19,000 physicians, also finds that medical groups expect an increase in turnover in the coming year due to accelerating retirement and competition to hire and retain top physicians. Seventy-six percent of respondents plan to hire more primary care physicians in the next 12 months.

“The survey findings provide evidence that recruitment and retention continue to be major challenges for health systems,” Donald W. Fisher, PhD, CAE, president and chief executive officer of AMGA, said in a news release about the survey. “To rise to these challenges, medical groups are demonstrating remarkable leadership by investing in new staffing and delivery models, building and nurturing their teams in a strategic way, and making accountable care work for their patients and their communities.”

For the second year, the survey also asked about turnover among advanced practice clinicians, including physician assistants and nurse practitioners. That turnover rate in 2012 was 11.5 percent, essentially unchanged from the previous year.

Read more about the survey.

May 16 2012

Med School Enrollment Increasing, Schools Adapting to Address Physician Shortage

Enrollment at U.S. medical schools is growing, according to new data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The annual Medical School Enrollment Survey finds that first-year medical school enrollment is expected to reach 21,376 by 2016, an increase of 29.6 percent since 2002. Combined first-year MD and DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) enrollment—which has already increased by 28 percent since 2002—is projected to reach 26,709, an increase of 37 percent, by 2016.

Forty-three percent of the schools surveyed say they have plans to target—or have already targeted—specific populations that are underrepresented in medical schools, including minorities and people from disadvantaged backgrounds, rural and underserved communities. Among the tactics the schools are using: scholarships, modified or targeted admissions criteria and outreach efforts, and branch campus locations.

Medical schools are also using other approaches to increase their enrollment and quickly put physicians to work. At least four schools have recently begun offering programs that allow medical students to get degrees in three years, instead of four, American Medical News reports. In addition, a consortium of six schools has applied for a $23 million federal grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to expand the three-year model to more campuses.

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Apr 10 2012

Making Oral Health Care Accessible

Former Health & Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan, MD, penned an op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times making the case for devising more effective ways to deliver dental care to poor or rural communities across the nation.

The Secretary notes that, in 2009, 83,000 emergency room visits resulted from preventable dental problems. “In my state of Georgia,” he writes, “visits to the ER for oral health problems cost more than $23 million in 2007. According to more recent data from Florida, the bill exceeded $88 million. And dental disease is the No. 1 chronic childhood disease, sending more children in search of medical treatment than asthma. In a nation obsessed with high-tech medicine, people are not getting preventive care for something as simple as tooth decay.”

He goes on to list several reasons: 50 million of us live in poor or rural areas without a dentist; most dentists do not accept Medicaid; and we have a dentist shortage that will only be exacerbated when 5.3 million children are added to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program by way of the Affordable Care Act.

Sullivan argues that the federal government should put programs in place to train more dentists. But more than that, he argues for training dental therapists “who can provide preventive care and routine procedures like sealants, fillings and simple extractions outside the confines of a traditional dentist’s office.” He says such an approach has been particularly effective in Alaska, where the state has recruited and trained dental therapists to serve many of that state’s most remote communities, including many that are accessible only by plane, dogsled or snowmobile.

A recently announced effort by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) takes aim at the very same problem. The Oral Health Workforce initiative is designed to improve access to oral health care by identifying and studying replicable models that make the best use of the health and health care workforce to provide preventive oral health services.

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Feb 29 2012

Program Repays Student Loans for Primary Care Physicians Working in Underserved Areas

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has awarded $9.1 million to medical students participating in the National Health Service Corps’ Students to Service Loan Repayment Program. In exchange for funds to repay their medical school debts, the 77 students in the pilot program commit to provide primary care services in communities with shortages of health professionals and limited access to care.

After their residencies, participants will spend three years full-time, or six years half-time, working in clinical practice in underserved or rural communities. They can receive annual student loan repayment funds of up to $30,000 while in the program.

The pilot program, created by the Affordable Care Act—the health reform law—aims to help alleviate a shortage of primary care professionals. “This new program is an innovative approach to encouraging more medical students to work as primary care doctors," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

Read more about the shortage of primary care providers and efforts to recruit primary care physicians in underserved areas.