I’m Feeling Quite Positive and Grateful about Nursing

I attended the AONE 2019 annual conference last week. It being in San Diego made it easy, since I’m just up the road.

There were lots of Ah-ha moments for me.  

  • “The future of digital belongs to you.”  Did you know that the nurse made Helpsy App won the 1st level innovation award at HIMSS?
  • The future of healthcare is looking very different. Roy Simpson talked about the impact of Big Data research at Emory University by nurses. WOW
  • The level of research and innovations by nurses in healthcare organizations – WOW
  • And more …

The presentation that really heartened me was by Peter Buerhaus, the mega nursing trends researcher.  Here we go … 

Nursing Workforce Strengths

Here are 10 nursing workforce strengths Buerhaus identified based on his research:

  1. Nurses are increasingly educated- the numbers of BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD nurses has steadily risen since the 2010 IOM Future of Nursing report
  2. Steady growth in employment and diversity –  There has been a 30% growth in RN jobs since 2011.  Diversity in nursing is becoming same as population distributions.
  3. Hospitals have linked value to BSN-prepared RNs – lots of research on this
  4. Nurses’ contribution to inpatient quality and safety has become firmly engrained in quality improvement initiatives – growing research and recognition for nurses impact in medical literature.
  5. Consistently positive public perceptions of nurses – we all see this. Amidst the current social, technological, demographic, political and healthcare disruptions, the public still holds nurses in esteem.
  6. Strong public and private support of nurses – more industry recognition and funding
  7. Improving projections of the future supply of RNs – Current speculation is that there is enough inflow of nurses to offset the outflow; a large national shortage is unlikely.
  8. Millennial surprise – Millennials are fully engaged; not leaving nursing at record numbers!
  9. Lack of adoption of patient to nurse staffing ratios- recent win in MA was big progress. Buerhaus bases his resistance to mandated ratios on trends in research and his writings:  ‘Ratios are short sided, often divert funds in wrong places- not equitably, create too much regulatory oversight.’
  10. Steady advance of the Advanced Practice Nursing workforce- in 2010=90K; in 2017=190K

For more details, access here his article,  Peter Buerhaus et al, 2017 Nursing Economics article

Nursing Workforce Weaknesses

Here are areas that need attention:

  1. Uneven growth of RNs per capita – Example, there is no RN growth expected in the NorthEast, NY, Penn, NJ, where several SouthEast and western states are having increasing growth.
  2. Baby boomer patient populations –  2-3 more decades of patients with chronic diseases.
  3. Baby boomer  RNs – 1 million are leaving and taking their brain trust.
  4. Shortage of physicians is more severe and uneven by 2030.
  5. Many or most nurses are unprepared for value based care related to faculty’s lack of preparedness.

… All of this is landing on the Millennial RNs.

What CNOs Need To Do

  1. Know your hot-spots in your organization
  2. Emphasis on organizational leadership – senior RNs mentoring and coaching millennial RNs
  3. Facilities to increase the productivity capacity of RN graduates – see Macy’s 2016 annual report 
  4. All nurses to learn how to focus on value-based practice. If school faculties sent students who knew how to use VB practices, schools would not have clinical placement problems (hmm, true?)
  5. Avoid staffing ratios – diverts focus and resources to regulatory
  6. Barriers to using NPs-  not all NPs are created equal; develop residency programs.
  7. Too many poor quality APRN programs? They may need to be shut down.

These challenges require hospital leaders, educators and policy makers, working together, to be successful.

One more thing … 


AONE is now AONL 

Professional Conferences are Good for the Soul 

I am grateful. 

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