Center to Champion Nursing in America

Dates of the Project: August 2007 through December 2012

Field of Work: Strengthening the nation's nursing workforce

Problem Synopsis: Registered nurses are on the front lines of the health care delivery system and crucial to ensuring safe, high-quality patient care. However, the United States is not producing nurses in the numbers and with the skills that will soon be essential for meeting the health care needs of the nation's aging population.

Adding to the problem is that many states restrict nurses with advanced education and clinical preparation from practicing to the full extent of their training.

Synopsis of the Work: A joint initiative of RWJF and AARP, the Center to Champion Nursing in America works to strengthen the nursing workforce by raising awareness of nursing issues and building multi-stakeholder coalitions to seek solutions at the state and federal levels.

Launched in December 2007 and housed at AARP in Washington, the Center focused initially on increasing the capacity of the nursing education system. In 2010, the Center broadened its activities, and today its staff of about a dozen is coordinating a national campaign to implement the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine's report on nursing, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.

One of its current activities is supporting and expanding a network of state-based coalitions that work to advance the report's prescriptions for transforming the nursing profession.

Key Results to Date

Among its key results are the following:

  • The Center has increased the visibility of nursing issues and the diversity of stakeholders involved in addressing them. Leveraging RWJF's status as a neutral convener and AARP's association with consumer interests, the Center is taking nursing's agenda to audiences outside the nursing community.
  • The Center has established an infrastructure for change. The coalitions developed at the national and state levels, together with the Center's activities as an information clearinghouse, provide a framework for strengthening the nursing workforce.
  • The Center's technical assistance has broadened stakeholders' knowledge and perspective. Although not of uniform value, the various conferences, forums and webinars offered by the Center have helped nursing leaders in the states become familiar with best practices and innovations elsewhere in the nation.