February 2009

Grant Results


Strategic Partnerships LLC conducted an assessment of federal and state government agencies, health care organizations and professional associations to determine existing and planned initiatives in nurse retention and education, and identified opportunities for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to partner in projects with some of them.

Key Findings

  • The nursing shortage has intensified in spite of the investment of time and funding by government and private sector organizations.
  • Lack of nursing faculty has led to declining enrollment in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs over time.

Key Recommendations

  • Partner with nursing organizations and others to co-host summit meetings to address the nursing education shortage. RWJF took up this recommendation in 2008. See After the Grant.
  • Leverage financial resources by generating matching funds from government and private sector organizations.
  • Support new strategies in nursing programs that reduce demand on clinical faculty. In 2008 RWJF helped fund the Western Governors University — along with other funders — to develop an online BSN program. See After the Grant.

RWJF supported this solicited project with a $22,750 grant to Strategic Partnerships LLC from November 2006 through February 2007.

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Just as aging baby boomers place new demands on the health care system, the nursing profession is facing a shortage of nurses and a need for expanded nurse education. Eliminating the nursing faculty shortage is critical to closing the gap.

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Under this grant, Strategic Partnerships LLC, a firm that links business and government organizations with mutual interests, sought to identify for RWJF:

  • Existing and planned initiatives in nurse retention and education funded by federal and state government agencies, trade and professional organizations and health care agencies.
  • Opportunities to partner with other groups to improve nurse education and retention.

Project staff undertook the following activities in the assessment:

  • Conducted 25 interviews with representatives of 22 nursing organizations (see list in Appendix 1).
  • Researched the current initiatives of federal agencies (see Appendix 2) and state agencies (see Appendix 3).
  • Investigated the initiatives of various professional associations (see Appendix 4).

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Investigators reported the following key findings to RWJF:

  • The nursing shortage has intensified despite time and funding invested by government, health care associations, companies, foundations and educational institutions.
  • Multiple factors contribute to the nursing shortage, including the aging of the nurse population, inadequate staffing, deteriorating work settings and nurse dissatisfaction with working conditions and compensation.
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs have experienced declining enrollments over time, due primarily to the lack of nursing faculty.

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  • Partner with nursing organizations and others to co-host summit meetings to address the nursing education issue. Suggested nursing partners included:
    • The National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice
    • The Tri-Council for Nursing, composed of the:
      • American Association of Colleges of Nursing
      • American Nurses Association
      • American Organizations of Nurse Executives
      • National League for Nursing.
  • Expand and retain the pool of nursing faculty with educational strategies that:
    • Employ simulated clinical experiences in supervised settings to reduce demands on clinical faculty.
    • Streamline degree requirements to achieve a timely program completion.
    • Expand the use of distance learning in delivery of graduate courses.
  • Focus on the fastest growing segment of the population — people age 50 and above — to tap as nursing resources.
  • Leverage financial resources by generating matching funds from federal and state agencies, foundations and health care employers.
  • Build a database of public and private sources of health-related funding, scholarships and technical assistance.
  • Compile a compendium of nurse education best practices.
  • Design a recognition program for nurses and nurse educators to honor their contributions to the health care system.

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In 2008, RWJF joined with other organizations in two major initiatives that Strategic Partnerships had identified as key partnership opportunities for RWJF during the project:

  • On June 26–27, 2008, RWJF hosted with AARP and the U.S. Department of Labor a Nursing Education Capacity Summit in Crystal City, Va., on strategies to improve nurse education capacity and ultimately reverse the persistent nursing shortage.
  • In April 2008, RWJF awarded a $725,000 grant (ID# 062520) to Western Governors University, a fully accredited online university created by 19 western governors, for its College of Health Professions. With the grant the university is developing an online competency-based Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Other major supporters include Kaiser Permanente, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Universal Health Services.

    Called the Multi-State Approach to the Preparation of Registered Nurses (MAP-RN), the program's didactic online portion will be followed by simulated and actual clinical experience. The program, scheduled to start in 2009, aims to attract qualified students nationwide who would not otherwise attend nursing school.

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Assessment of Potential Partnership Opportunities With Public and Private Sector Organizations on Nurse Education and Retention


Strategic Partnerships LLC (Alexandria,  VA)

  • Amount: $ 22,750
    Dates: November 2006 to February 2007
    ID#:  059054


Kenneth M. Smith
(703) 684-8400

Web Site


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Appendix 1

Nursing Organizations Interviewed

Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses
American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
American College of Nurse Practitioners
Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Emergency Nurses Association
Fairfield University
Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University
Infusion Nurses Society
National Association of School Nurses
National Council of State Boards of Nursing
National League for Nursing
National Student Nurses' Association
Oncology Nursing Society
Pacific Lutheran University
Robert Morris University
University of Colorado Nursing & Health Sciences
University of Iowa
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Wayne State University

Appendix 2

Federal Agencies Researched

  • U.S. Department of Defense
    • Troops to Nurse Teachers
  • U.S. Department of Education
    • Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • Health Resources and Services Administration
      • Bureau of Health Professions, Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students Program
      • Health Professions Student Loans
      • Loans for Disadvantaged Students
      • National Health Service Corps
      • Nursing Education Loan Repayment
      • Nursing Scholarship Program
      • Nursing Student Loan Program
    • Indian Health Service
      • Health Professions Scholarship Program
      • National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Health Disparities Research Loan Repayment Program
  • U.S. Department of Labor
    • High Growth Job Training Initiative
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Education Debt Reduction Program
    • Employee Incentive Scholarship Program
    • Health Care Professionals
    • National Nursing Education Initiative
    • VA Learning Opportunities Residency

Appendix 3

State Initiatives Researched


  • The California Endowment (conversion foundation)
    • AACN Minority Nurse Faculty Scholarship
    • Center for Nursing Expansion/Innovation Grant
    • Fostering Student Success Grant
    • Governor's $90 Million California Nurse Education Initiative
    • Song-Brown Program
    • Workforce Investment Act
      • Healthy Community Forum Grant


  • Florida Department of Education
    • SUCCEED Florida Nursing Education Grant Program
  • Florida Legislature
    • $10 million in nonrecurring state funds
  • Health Foundation of South Florida
    • Grow Our Own Nursing Faculty Grant Program


  • Nurse Scholars Program
  • Pre-Nursing Club
  • Stipend Program
  • Summer Externship for Rising Seniors


  • Futures in Nursing Public Service Campaign
  • Independence Blue Cross Nurse Scholars Program
  • Job Ready Pennsylvania Initiative
  • Nursing Education Grants Program
  • Nursing Loan Forgiveness for Healthier Futures
  • Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA)
  • Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation
  • Pennsylvania Nurse Assistance Fund


  • Dramatic Growth Fund
    • Nursing Shortage Reduction Act
  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

The 45 states with accelerated BN and MSN Programs are:
District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota

Appendix 4

Professional Associations Researched

American Association of Colleges of Nursing
American Cancer Society
American Nurses Association
American Organization of Nurse Executives
Johnson & Johnson
Lydia's Professional Uniforms Scholarship
National League for Nursing
National League for Nursing Foundation for Nursing Education
Nursing Career Network and Scholarship Program
Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow
Tri-Council for Nursing (the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Nurses Association, American Organization of Nurse Executives, National League for Nursing)

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Report prepared by: Nina Berlin
Reviewed by: Pamela Lister
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: Susan B. Hassmiller