The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is providing the AARP Foundation with $10 million to fund a new center that will help address the nursing-workforce shortage.
Among other things, the Center to Champion Nursing in America will press for more federal and state funds to expand nursing education, and it will advocate placing nurses on the governing boards of hospitals and other healthcare organizations. It will also work to establish an educational movement to inform the public and policymakers about nurse workforce issues and the link between a trained nursing workforce and quality healthcare.
If we are going to improve the quality of hospital care and nursing care at the bedside, we need to find ways to fill the pipeline, said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and chief executive officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at a news briefing to announce the grant. We believe this center will reach that goal.
Federal projections estimate that the shortage could grow as large as 1 million nurses by 2020. The American Hospital Association claims that the registered nurse vacancy rate in hospitals has increased from 8.5% in 2002 to 13% in 2007.
There are currently 3 million registered nurses in the U.S.
A number of factors are contributing to the shortage: enrollment in nursing schools isnt keeping up with the growing demand for nurses, and schools are turning away qualified applicants in part because of faculty shortages, according to the foundation. (A related story Nursing schools see enrollment continue to rise appeared earlier this week.) -- by Jennifer Lubell
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