ing greater neutrality in the designation of types of health professionals who can participate in and lead new initiatives in primary care and chronic care coordination. Changes in nursing education policies are needed to ensure that the nurse workforce of the future is appropriately educated for anticipated role expansions and changing population needs.

Five priority recommendations regarding the future of nursing education are advanced for consideration by the RWJF Committee on the Future of Nursing at the IOM:

  • Increase and target new federal and state subsidies in the form of scholarships, loan forgiveness, and institutional capacity awards to significantly increase the number and proportion of new registered nurses who graduate from basic pre-licensure education with a baccalaureate or higher degree in nursing.

  • Increase federal and state subsidies for graduate nurse education at the master’s and doctoral levels in the form of scholarships, loan forgiveness, and institutional capacity with a priority on producing more nurse faculty.

  • Encourage public and private resource investments to incentivize students and nursing programs to expedite production of qualified nurse faculty by shortening the trajectory from entry into basic nursing education through doctoral and post-doctoral study by expedited bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) to PhD programs and comparable innovations.

  • Create a federal health professions workforce planning and policy capacity in the Executive Branch with authority to recommend to the President and the Congress health workforce policy priorities across federal agencies and departments.

  • Recommend the inclusion of health services research on various forms of nursing investments in improving care outcomes including comparisons of the cost effectiveness of improving hospital nurse-to-patient ratios, increasing nurse education, and improving the nurse work environment. At present comparative effectiveness research is more focused on drug and treatment intervention trials than on innovations in care delivery including workforce interventions.


Every year the percent of new registered nurses graduating from associate degree programs increases, and it is now over 66 percent of all new nurse graduates. Multiple blue ribbon panels on nursing education, including the just released Carnegie Foundation Report on Nursing Education (Benner et al., 2010) as well as health workforce reports to Congress for two decades, have concluded that there is a substantial shortage of nurses with BSN and higher education to meet

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