SNAC Whitepaper

Moving Toward a More Highly Educated Nursing Workforce

Posted on December 14, 2017 by Deborah Gauvreau, consultant with The Patterson Foundation
The Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition’s (SNAC) newly published white paper "Moving Toward a More Highly Educated Nursing Workforce" is an urgent call-to-action describing the shortage of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs in our region and throughout Florida along with the negative consequences on patient outcomes.

The complexities of today’s health care delivery system and community needs have created a pressing need for newly graduating nurses to attain, at a minimum, a BSN before entering the nursing workforce. More BSN’s are needed because advanced education results in marked improvements in health outcomes and death rates.

The education of our nursing workforce matters to each of us because we are all beneficiaries of our healthcare system, a system that will become more or less capable of delivering high-quality care to each of us.

It is good news that with SNAC’s collaborative approach and its member’s actions, the needle is moving. According to latest data, the Suncoast region has seen a 2% increase in BSN-prepared nurses, from 31.4% to 33.5%. Local nursing schools are making progress to meet demands for new four-year BSN programs.

The work of SNAC and its members is yielding incremental progress. Still, achieving the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health “80% by 2020” goal is not feasible given the limitations and barriers associated with limited BSN programs.

Urgent action is needed locally and across the state to meet community needs, especially as the demand for bachelor-prepared nurses and the faculty to train them continues to rise. A robust pipeline of nurses with baccalaureate degrees is needed at the bedside. Nurses with doctorates are needed in faculty and leadership roles to ensure optimal patient care today and to improve nurses’ ability to positively influence the outcomes of patients and enhance the health of our community members in the future.

SNAC is committed to taking the lead in working with nursing schools, policy leaders, and employers to remove barriers to a highly educated nursing workforce and address the workforce needs regionally and beyond. To learn more, read SNAC’s white paper Moving Toward a More Highly Educated Nursing Workforce.

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