From 1996 to 2002, the South Dakota Board of Nursing, Sioux Falls, S.D., led a South Dakota consortium that included nurses, nurse educators and nurse employers that established a system to collect and analyze state nursing workforce data and report on nurse supply-and-demand trends.
The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national program Colleagues in Caring: Regional Collaboratives for Nursing Work Force Development.
The consortium created what the project director called a new "trust level" among members of the nursing community.
The Board of Nursing played an active role in advocating for legislation through its executive branch authority. It helped design and champion three nursing workforce bills that the state legislature passed in 2002.
The consortium developed a workforce data collection and analysis system and regularly reported supply-and-demand trends. The data helped focus attention on the state's nursing shortage and generated support for the 2002 legislation.
The South Dakota Center for Nursing, which stemmed from the Colleagues in Caring project, continues the project's data collection, analysis and reporting functions and serves as a focal point for statewide nursing workforce development efforts.
In 2001, the consortium developed and disseminated a document that sets out the essential nursing competencies at different nursing levels, including licensed practical nurse and the associate, bachelor's and masters' degree levels.