Fundamental health reform is integral to putting the country on the path to economic recovery. These goals—health reform and economic recovery—will not be met unless we build, empower and deploy a 21st century health care workforce. A reformed health care system must include an adequate supply of well-trained professionals who can deliver care to all Americans. Nurses are at the center of this discussion. It is nurses—of every stripe—who will deliver, coordinate and direct care in hospitals, clinics, and physicians' offices, and it is these same most necessary nurses who are in short supply.