The Nursing Initiative’s nursing workforce strategy addresses a critical need in ensuring safe, high-quality patient care—a sufficiently large registered nurse workforce whose formal and ongoing training reflects the needs of patients.
Through this strategy, we seek to develop a larger and better prepared hospital RN workforce in the San Francisco Bay Area. The United States faces a long-term shortfall of RNs. Major factors contributing to the projected RN shortage include inadequate capacity to enroll new nursing students and an anticipated increase in the number of retiring RNs and faculty. In addition, the work environment for RNs continues to become more complex and technologically advanced, with coordination between healthcare professionals—such as RNs, physicians and pharmacists—essential to ensuring that patients consistently receive the best evidence-based care. For RNs to be successful in providing high quality patient care, they must be equipped with strong clinical and patient management skills in such areas as patient engagement, teamwork and collaboration, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, safety and informatics.
To close an acute gap between supply and demand of RNs in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early to mid-2000s, we selected three primary approaches: training and funding more RN educators, expanding pre-licensure programs through new, innovative models and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of clinical training opportunities. To better prepare new nurses to provide high quality care to patients, we also focus on curriculum enhancement of pre-licensure programs, including the incorporation of the Quality and Safety Education for Nursing competencies, and creating continuing clinical training opportunities for new RNs to ensure a smooth transition to practice.
A key element of all Nursing Initiative workforce programs is the collaboration among nursing community stakeholders, including schools of nursing, hospitals, clinics and others. This regional approach seeks to develop innovative programs as solutions to the root causes of RN workforce issues and create better coordination between schools and practice settings.