October 2006

Grant Results

SUMMARY

The Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC) commissioned a white paper that examined the extent and causes of the nursing faculty shortage and proposed possible solutions. To encourage discussion of the proposals, they also held an invitation-only workshop in September 2005, attended by 32 people, including CEOs of academic health centers, nursing deans and faculty members, heads of nursing associations, researchers, congressional staffers and health care providers.

Key Recommendations

  • Create a national nursing faculty center that could improve the quality of data and analysis related to nursing faculty.
  • Support nationally competitive fellowships for graduate nursing education that lead to faculty roles.
  • Provide grants on a nationally competitive basis to support centers of excellence to train nursing faculty.

Funding
From April 2005 through January 2006, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded this solicited project with a grant of $32,918.

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THE PROBLEM

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 7.4 percent of nursing faculty jobs were left unfilled in the early 2000s. Projections suggest an even greater shortfall in the future. According to the project director, the shortage has been caused by:

  • More lucrative opportunities in other marketplaces.
  • Fewer people entering the training pipeline that produces nursing faculty (due in part to the increase in other career opportunities for women).
  • Workload and workplace dissatisfaction (relating, for example, to salary issues and shifting work expectations in a changing health system).
  • Institutional decisions, particularly those involving budgets.

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RWJF STRATEGY

RWJF aims to reduce the shortage in nurse staffing and improve the quality of nursing-related care by transforming the way care is delivered at the bedside by 2013. RWJF planned that the paper would also be included in a subsequent volume of papers addressing faculty shortages across the health professions that the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation funded the AAHC to produce. In addition, the AAHC, with support from the Macy Foundation, planned to host four workshops to discuss the range of health professions shortages, including the nursing faculty shortage, thereby providing exposure to a larger, more diverse group of decision-makers.

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THE PROJECT

Association of Academic Health Center staff used this grant to explore the extent and causes of the nursing faculty shortage and to propose possible solutions.

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RESULTS

The project yielded the following results:

  • Project staff commissioned health policy analyst Karl J. Yordy, M.P.A., to write a white paper. Yordy based the paper, in part, on a review of the relevant literature and background interviews with nursing leaders, leaders in higher education and policy-makers. Entitled The Nursing Faculty Shortage: A Crisis for Health Care, it is available online as part of a collection of papers on health workforce issues posted by the Association of Academic Health Centers. The paper:
    • Examined the extent of the nursing faculty shortage and its potential effects on future demand, supply, educational preparation and productivity of the nursing workforce.
    • Examined the causes of the shortage.
    • Assessed the effectiveness of approaches taken so far to alleviate the shortage.
    • Recommended strategies and a course of action. See Recommendations for proposed strategies.
  • Project staff held an invitation-only workshop where participants discussed and debated the white paper's proposals and offered additional recommendations. The workshop, held on September 14, 2005, in Washington, drew 32 attendees, including:
    • CEOs of academic health centers.
    • Nursing deans and faculty members.
    • Heads of nursing associations, including the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National League for Nursing and the American Association of Community Colleges.
    • Health services researchers.
    • Congressional staffers.
    • Health care providers.

Recommendations

The white paper offers six recommendations to address the nursing faculty shortage.

  • Create a national nursing faculty center that could improve the quality of data and analysis related to nursing faculty.
  • Support nationally competitive fellowships for graduate education that lead to faculty roles.
  • Provide grants on a nationally competitive basis to support centers of excellence for the training of nursing faculty.
  • Extend and expand the federal program of institutional grants for loans and loan forgiveness for nursing faculty training (Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act).
  • Provide federal matching grants to states to develop plans to expand nursing faculty, including incentives for recruitment and retention.
  • Provide federal matching grants to states for ongoing data collection and analysis relating to their nursing workforces, with explicit attention to the adequacy of faculty resources.

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LESSONS LEARNED

  1. Be prepared for some stakeholders to work at cross purposes. There is a lack of accord about the role that associate and baccalaureate degree nursing programs play in addressing both the nursing faculty shortage and the nursing shortage. The workshop described here offered a useful opportunity for representatives of both types of programs to meet on common ground, although it did not resolve their tensions. (Project Director)
  2. Work with faculty members from across the spectrum of nursing training. Although faculty from academic health centers do not often interact with nursing colleagues from community colleges, the community college faculty were pleased to be included in the workshop. The project director recommends proactive outreach to this group. (Project Director)

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AFTER THE GRANT

The three-year project of the Association of Academic Health Centers to explore and analyze shortages of health care professionals, funded by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, will continue until 2008. Staff will incorporate information from the white paper described here into reports and publications that grow out of the larger project. In addition, RWJF has posted an extended executive summary of the paper on its Web site.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

Developing a White Paper and Convening a Workshop on the Nursing Faculty Shortage

Grantee

Association of Academic Health Centers (Washington,  DC)

  • Amount: $ 32,918
    Dates: April 2005 to January 2006
    ID#:  052958

Contact

Denise E. Holmes, J.D., M.P.H.
(202) 265-9600
dholmes@acadhlthctrs.org

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Reports

Yordy KD. The Nursing Faculty Shortage: A Crisis for Health Care. Washington: Association of Academic Health Centers, 2005. Available online as part of a collection of papers on health workforce issues posted by the Association of Academic Health Centers.

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Report prepared by: Robert Crum
Reviewed by: Karyn Feiden
Reviewed by: Marian Bass
Program Officer: Michelle A. Larkin

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