Princeton, N.J.—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced that nine states have been awarded $300,000 grants in Phase II of its Academic Progression in Nursing program (APIN). APIN is advancing state and regional strategies aimed at creating a more highly educated, diverse nursing workforce. It 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 four-year initiative. “Action Coalitions” in all nine states that were part of Phase I of the program have met or exceeded their benchmarks, and are receiving funding to continue their work for two additional years. Funding to the states over the four years will total $5.4 million.
The states receiving Phase II APIN grants are California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington state. The grants will allow them to continue working with academic institutions and employers to expand their work to help nurses in their states get higher degrees, so they can be essential partners in providing care and promoting health, as well as more easily continue their education and fill faculty and primary care nurse practitioner roles. The Action Coalitions in all these states have been encouraging strong partnerships between community colleges and universities to make it easier for nurses to transition to higher degrees.
In its groundbreaking 2010 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. While acknowledging the contributions of Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses and associate-degree-prepared Registered Nurses, the IOM report said a better educated nursing workforce can help ensure that our nation’s population has access to high-quality, patient- and family-centered care and can meet the growing need to provide preventive care in schools, communities, and homes.
“The APIN teams have been making great progress developing initiatives and curricula that are encouraging and making it easier for more nurses to earn their BSN degrees,” 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 know that 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. The strategies these nine states are implementing, and the models they are developing for other states to replicate, will help us meet the IOM’s target for BSN and higher prepared nurses.”
As part of Phase II of this work, each state Action Coalition will develop a sustainability plan to ensure that the work to promote seamless academic progression for nurses in their states will continue beyond the grant period. During Phase II, each state also will develop a robust diversity plan and focus on academic-practice partnerships to expand and support the work to date.
RWJF is also helping advance recommendations in the IOM report by supporting the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action—a collaborative effort to advance solutions to challenges facing the nursing profession in order to improve quality and transform the way Americans receive health care. It is coordinated through the Center to Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP, the AARP Foundation, and RWJF. It supports state-based Action Coalitions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia; Action Coalitions are leading the APIN work in each of the nine funded states.
“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 advance a culture of health in our nation,” said RWJF Senior Adviser for Nursing Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN. “In the last two years, APIN grantees have laid important groundwork to build that workforce. We are pleased to provide the financial support they need to continue their essential work.”
About the Tri-Council for Nursing
The Tri-Council for Nursing is an alliance of four autonomous nursing organizations each focused on leadership for education, practice and research. The four organizations are the: American Association of Colleges of Nursing; American Nurses Association; American Organization of Nurse Executives; and the National League for Nursing. While each organization has its own constituent membership and unique mission, they are united by common values and convene regularly for the purpose of dialogue and consensus building, to provide stewardship within the profession of nursing. These organizations represent nurses in practice, nurse executives and nursing educators. The Tri-Council’s diverse interests encompass the nursing work environment, health care legislation and policy, quality of health care, nursing education, practice, research and leadership across all segments of the health delivery system.