California Team Selected to Advance Solutions to Nursing, Faculty Shortages

Thursday, June 26, 2008 General News J E 4

SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California was selected by AARP, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to participate in the first Nursing Education Capacity Summit in Washington, D.C. June 26 & 27. The goal of the Summit is to identify solutions to the nurse faculty shortage that is forcing nursing schools to turn away thousands of qualified nursing candidates each year. Summit participants will identify and develop approaches to improving nursing education capacity - with the ultimate goal of reversing the persistent nursing shortage that could leave the United States without enough nurses.

California will send a team of multi stakeholders to the Summit representing the CA Labor and Workforce Development Agency, CA Institute for Nursing and Health Care, Little Company of Mary Hospital, Tenet Healthcare, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation's SF Bay Area Program, CA Hospital Association, CA Board of Registered Nurses, UCSF School of Nursing, CSU San Marcos and Saddleback Community College. Also working with the CA team is Jacquie Paige, a member of AARP California's Executive Council and former director of the California Health Policy/Data Advisory Commission. Other states participating include: AL, CO, FL, HI, IL, MA, MD, MI, MS, NC, ND, NJ, OR, SC, TX, VA and WI. They will share best practices and focus on four key areas: strategic partnerships and resource alignment; policy and regulation; increasing faculty capacity and diversity; and education redesign.

"AARP recognizes the important role that states play; they are where the rubber meets the road in terms of health care delivery," said Senior Vice President of the AARP Public Policy Institute and Chief Strategist for the Center to Champion Nursing in America Susan Reinhard. The Center to Champion Nursing in America is a joint initiative of AARP, the AARP Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Nurses play a significant role in reducing medical errors and improving health care quality, which is why we urgently need to find solutions to address both the shortage of nurses and the shortage of faculty to educate them," Reinhard added.

California is uniquely positioned to contribute to the Summit because of their commitment to team work, demonstrated best practices related to increasing the nursing workforce, and excellent capacity to build even more effective partnerships for solutions in the future.

"As our population continues to age, access to community health care becomes increasingly more vital. Under the leadership of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, our team of healthcare stakeholders is dedicated to the continued expansion of the nurse workforce in California," said Jacquie Paige of AARP California's Executive Council. "And, AARP is also focused on retaining the talents and services of nurses currently practicing but nearing retirement, by identifying alternate kinds of full and part-time nursing careers for consideration in the future."

The Summit comes at a critical time for nursing. Latest surveys project that the United States could fall short by close to half a million registered nurses by 2025 absent aggressive action. Currently, the supply of new nurses is failing to keep pace with rising patient demand, in part because a significant number of interested and qualified nursing school applicants have been turned away in recent years due to a growing shortage of nursing faculty.

"The time to simply talk about the problem is over," said RWJF Senior Program Officer Susan Hassmiller. "What's essential now is to fundamentally rethink how nurses are and should be educated and how they should be deployed in the workfor


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