A Diverse, Well-Educated Nursing Workforce

Jan 4, 2012, 1:00 PM, Posted by

As we head into 2012, the Human Capital Blog asked Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) staff, program directors, scholars and grantees to share their New Year’s resolutions for our health care system, and what they think should be the priorities for action in the New Year. This post is by Dennis Sherrod, EdD, RN, RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow, Cohort 2003 and Professor and Director of Graduate Programs, Forsyth Medical Center Endowed Chair of Recruitment & Retention, Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


Increasing access and quality of health care services and promoting individual health continue to be national priorities. As Affordable Care Act provisions increase access to care and prevention services, demand for primary care providers, registered nurses, and other health professionals are expected to increase. A high priority for health care systems will be to develop innovative health care delivery models that fully utilize health promotion, chronic care management, and health care delivery skills of advanced practice nurses and registered nurses. Health systems will need to collaborate effectively with university systems to measure outcomes of these models and rapidly integrate findings into nursing curricula and educational programs, therefore informing the preparation of future nurse professionals.


The nursing profession will need to attract and retain a diverse nurse workforce educated to focus on health promotion and primary prevention. And health systems will need to encourage advanced practice nurses and registered nurses to practice within the full range of their educational preparation.

My New Year’s resolution for United States health care systems is to establish, activate, and/or reactivate health system and health professions educational program advisory groups to clearly communicate rapidly changing and evolving competencies and skills required to promote health and address evolving health care needs of our citizens. Advisory groups can assist stakeholders from service and education to collaboratively prepare and introduce nurse professionals better equipped and prepared to address health and health care needs in rapidly changing health care systems.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.