Academic Progression is Focus of Meeting with Community College, University Nursing Leaders

Apr 11, 2014, 9:16 AM

A year ago this week, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) convened an unprecedented meeting that brought together diverse leaders from community colleges around the country, the Tri-Council for Nursing, and RWJF’s Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) initiative, which is fostering collaboration between community colleges and four-year university nursing programs to promote seamless academic progression for nurses. The meeting was organized to address concerns in the community college community about the recommendation in the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, that 80 percent of the nation’s nurses attain bachelor of science in nursing or higher degrees by the year 2020.

A paper, released today, reports on the proceedings of that meeting, including participants’ shared goal to ensure that community colleges continue their invaluable work to educate a new generation of nurses and diversify the nursing workforce; and to give all nurses opportunities to be lifelong learners who are well-prepared to provide high-quality care and promote health.

The paper includes an addendum that provides news and information about how nursing, health, education, government, business, and other leaders in nine states have made exciting progress in the last year in support of seamless progression for nursing students, as well as for nurses already in the workforce who wish to continue their education.

“While we did not solve every concern, the meeting was tremendously constructive, opening a dialogue, identifying numerous areas of strong agreement, and illuminating issues yet to be resolved,” said John Lumpkin, MD, MPH, senior vice president at RWJF. The Foundation “is determined that last year’s meeting be a beginning for a continuing, constructive dialogue that will advance the goals we all share.”

Donna Meyer, MSN, RN, president of the National Organization of Associate Degree Nursing (NOADN), said the new paper “is an extremely important document that demonstrates the value of AD [associate degree] nurses in this country, while also emphasizing the value of academic progression for nurses. I am hopeful that the paper will help clarify the role played by AD nurses, as recognized in the IOM’s future of nursing report. The IOM report underscored the value of AD nurses, as does this paper. As president of NOADN, I encourage all of my colleagues to share and distribute this paper, to support the imperative for unity in the nursing profession and to improve health care in this country.”

Meyer is also dean of Health Sciences & director of the Family Health Clinic at Lewis & Clark Community College. She co-authored the paper with Julie Fairman, RN, PhD, FAAN, RWJF Investigator in Health Policy Research and Nightingale professor in nursing, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Read the new paper.
Read more about RWJF’s work to support academic progression in nursing.

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