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States receive funds to advance nursing education


Nine states will receive two-year, $300,000 grants through a program that supports the advancement of state and regional strategies aimed at creating a more highly educated, diverse nursing workforce.

The program, Academic Progression in Nursing, is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The American Organization of Nurse Executives will run the two-year initiative on behalf of the Tri-Council for Nursing, which consists of the AONE, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing.

The states chosen for the new grants were California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Washington. RWJF will support an additional two years of work at the close of Phase I to help states continue to make progress if they have met or exceeded their benchmarks.

The chosen states will work with academic institutions and employers on implementing sophisticated strategies to help nurses get higher degrees, thereby improving patient care and helping fill faculty and APRN roles, according to a news release. In particular, the states will encourage strong partnerships between community colleges and universities to make transitioning to higher degrees easier for nurses.

In its 2010 report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” the Institute of Medicine stated that 80% of the nursing workforce should be prepared at the baccalaureate level or higher by 2020. At present, about half of nurses in the United States have baccalaureate or higher degrees.

While acknowledging the contributions to healthcare of LPNs, LVNs and associate degree-prepared RNs, the IOM stated that a better educated nursing workforce is needed to ensure the nation’s population has access to high-quality, patient-centered care.

“The nation needs a well-educated nursing workforce to ensure an adequate supply of public health and primary care providers, improve care for patients living with chronic illness and in other ways meet the needs of our aging and increasingly diverse population,” Pamela Austin Thompson, RN, MS, CENP, FAAN, national program director for APIN, CEO of AONE and senior vice president for nursing at the American Hospital Association, said in a news release.

“We have great confidence in the nine states that will receive these grants to implement bold and effective strategies that will work in their states and create models that other states can utilize.”

In other work related to the IOM report. RWJF has supported “The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action,” a collaborative effort to advance challenges facing the nursing profession, thereby improving quality and transforming the way Americans receive healthcare (see for more information).

The campaign supports 49 state-based Action Coalitions around the country. In the nine states chosen to receive the latest grants, the coalitions will lead the APIN’s work.


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