Jan 18, 2012, 2:30 PM, Posted by Paula Lucey
By Paula Lucey, MSN, RN, Administrator, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program alumna (1999-2001)
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Partners Investing in Nursing program (commonly called PIN) is a wonderful way to address nursing workforce efforts. The Foundation created this program with the concept that nursing workforce efforts needed to become the work of not only nursing but the work of partnership with local foundations and employers.
In Milwaukee, our first PIN grant focused on the impending crisis in public health related to the nursing workforce. We had data that suggested that upwards of 50 percent of the current workforce could retire in the next five years. While not all will do so, this was a wake up call that we needed to begin to work to develop the next generation of public health nurses.
Our program was able to energize some senior nursing students to consider careers in public health. While our numbers were under 20, the students spread the word to their fellow students, and we believe we created a ripple of interest among students at several of the local BSN programs.
As important as the immediate efforts related to these students were, some of the project’s accomplishments will form the foundation for long-term solutions. The most important was increased awareness of the importance of public health and the vital role that nursing plays among our three foundation partners.