The nursing profession, with nearly 3 million licensed and practicing nurses in the U.S., comprises the largest segment of the nation’s health care workforce. There is consensus among experts that nursing education should be modernized to train a greater percentage of nurses at the graduate level and provide the skills nurses need as today’s health care delivery system continues to evolve towards more team-based, data-driven, and coordinated care. What does the nursing workforce look like now, and how does it need to change to meet current and future health needs in the U.S.? How are nursing education and training currently financed? What is the role of federal policy in training a 21st century nursing workforce? How does the nursing workforce fit into today’s primary care workforce and the evolving health care delivery system?
A distinguished panel of experts addressed these and related questions:
Ed Salsberg, director of health workforce studies, George Washington University School of Nursing, and founding director, National Center for Health Workforce Analysis at the Health Resources and Services Administration
A growing, aging population as well as medical successes are increasing the demand for health care services, Edward Salsberg said. Using nurse practitioners and physician assistants as part of a team can reduce the primary care shortage, improve access, and deliver more cost effective services, he added.
Linda H. Aiken, Claire M. Fagin leadership professor in nursing, professor of sociology, and director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, University of Pennsylvania
Cost estimates of advanced practice nursing (APN) clinical education derived from Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s graduate nursing education (GNE) demonstration show a favorable return on investment, Linda Aiken stated. APN enrollments and graduations doubled during the first two years of the GNE demonstration.
Brittnee MacIntyre, a nurse practitioner who recently completed graduate level training
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s GNE demonstration benefits the community by integrating more nurse practitioners into community clinics, Brittnee MacIntyre stated.
Deborah Trautman, chief executive officer, American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Advance practice nurses (nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwifes); must complete baccalaureate plus master’s or doctorate-level training, Deborah Trautman emphasized. Title VIII is largest source of federal funding for nursing education and workforce and is imperative to increase opportunities for APNs to help meet health needs of complex populations, she continued.
Ed Howard of the Alliance for Health Reform and Susan Reinhard of AARP co-moderated.
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