Sep 17, 2012, 10:21 AM, Posted by Dana Egreczky
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Human Capital Blog is asking diverse experts: What is and isn’t working in health professions education today, and what changes are needed to prepare a high-functioning health and health care workforce that can meet the country’s current and emerging needs? Today’s post is by Dana Egreczky, BS, MBA, senior vice president of workforce development at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
As head of workforce development at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, I’ve seen a vast shift in the education levels employers expect in their employees, and nurses are no exception. It makes good sense: Nurses have more responsibilities than ever, and are caring for an increasing, and increasingly complex, patient population. They need to understand vast amounts of medical knowledge and be able to make quick, sound decisions that affect the lives of their patients.
Certainly, all nurses play a valuable role in our health care system, but we need more nurses with baccalaureate degrees and higher to meet increasing demands and to provide higher quality, more complex care. Studies show a clear link between nurse education levels and patient outcomes.
We also need more nurses with advanced degrees to fill faculty vacancies. Our population is aging, and in increasing need of nursing services, but there aren’t enough nurse educators to train the next generation of nurses. And that does not bode well for our health—or our economy.
At the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation, we are doing our part to solve this problem. We have teamed up with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to create the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), which is working to transform nursing education and address the nurse faculty shortage in our state.