Over a decade ago, California, and much of the country, faced a shortfall of RNs. This was due in large measure to an inadequate capacity to enroll new nursing students. In addition, the work environment for nurses became more complex and technologically advanced with coordination between health care professionals—such as RNs, physicians and pharmacists—essential to ensuring that patients consistently receive the best evidence-based care.
The Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative saw an opportunity to help close the acute gap between supply and demand of San Francisco Bay Area RNs, while helping nurses strengthen both their clinical and patient management skills to ensure safe, high-quality patient care.
The nursing workforce strategy included three primary approaches: 1) training and funding more RN educators, 2) expanding pre-licensure programs through new, innovative models and 3) increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of clinical training opportunities.
To better prepare new nurses to provide high-quality care to patients, we worked with all San Francisco Bay Area schools of nursing on curriculum enhancement of pre-licensure programs, including the incorporation of the Quality and Safety Education for Nursing competencies. Additionally, we created continuing clinical training opportunities for new RNs to ensure a smooth transition to practice.
As a result of these efforts:
- 238 new nurse faculty and clinical adjunct faculty taught in Bay Area schools of nursing, leading to more than 1,000 new RNs within five years.
- 100 percent of Bay Area schools of nursing enhanced their curricula with quality and safety content and the largest schools that offered a BSN degree or higher, fully integrated QSEN into their curricula.
- 345 nursing graduates who participated in four pilot transition programs increased their competence; 84 percent were employed three months after completing the programs, compared to a California statewide average of 57 percent.
In addition, the infrastructure to provide high-quality nursing education has been enhanced by:
- Completion of a white paper on Nursing Education Redesign for California in 2008 (an update of the paper will be completed in 2016).
- Design and development of the Centralized Clinical Placement System, an online platform that matches nursing school students with clinical placement opportunities. 80 percent of San Francisco Bay Area schools of nursing and adult acute care hospitals actively use the system.
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.