Nine States Receive RWJF Grants to Build More Highly Educated Nursing Workforce
Aug 23, 2012, 12:15 PM
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) program this week announced that California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Washington state have been chosen to receive grants to advance state and regional strategies aimed at creating a more highly educated, diverse nursing workforce. Each state will receive a two-year, $300,000 grant.
The states will now work with academic institutions and employers on implementing sophisticated strategies to help nurses get higher degrees in order to improve patient care and help fill faculty and advanced practice nursing roles. In particular, the states will encourage strong partnerships between community colleges and universities to make it easier for nurses to transition to higher degrees.
In its groundbreaking report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended that 80 percent of the nursing workforce be prepared at the baccalaureate level or higher by the year 2020. At present, about half of nurses in the United States have baccalaureate or higher degrees.
In Massachusetts, the grant was announced by Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, along with nursing, health and education leaders. “These funds will further our efforts to create a comprehensive and more aligned workforce development system that meets the needs of our students, employers and Commonwealth as a whole,” Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville said in a statement about the state’s grant.
APIN is run by the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) on behalf of the Tri-Council for Nursing, consisting of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National League for Nursing, American Nurses Association, and AONE, which is leading the $4.3 million, Phase I two-year initiative.
“The nation needs a well-educated nursing workforce to ensure an adequate supply of public health and primary care providers, improve care for patients living with chronic illness, and in other ways meet the needs of our aging and increasingly diverse population,” said Pamela Austin Thompson, MS, RN, CENP, FAAN, national program director for APIN, chief executive officer of AONE and senior vice president for nursing at the American Hospital Association. “We have great confidence in the nine states that will receive these grants to implement bold and effective strategies that will work in their states and create models that other states can utilize.”
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will support an additional two years of work at the close of Phase I, to help states that have met or exceeded their benchmarks continue to make progress. “Advancing a more highly educated, diverse workforce where nurses are able to practice to the top of their education and training is essential to achieving the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s mission to improve health and health care in this country,” said Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Foundation’s senior adviser for nursing.
This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.