At 4 million strong, nurses are woven into the fabric of our communities unlike any other care provider. Over the past decade, three influential organizations have taken steps to better position these highly skilled professionals to improve health and health equity in America. AARP Foundation, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) fund both the Center to Champion Nursing in America, and the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. View our timeline below:

2007 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021


AARP launches the Center to Champion Nursing in America (CCNA), an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).


The then-named Institute of Medicine (IOM) releases The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.

AARP Foundation, AARP, and RWJF create the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action to implement the IOM’s recommendations. The Campaign starts establishing its national network, which eventually comprise state Action Coalitions in 50 states plus DC, and stakeholders from the business, health and nursing worlds.


RWJF invests in 43 Campaign Action Coalitions, providing funds over five years to advance their work on IOM recommendations.

The number of nurses graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) surpasses the number of nurses graduating with an associate degree, reflecting a trend toward more education.

The Medicare Graduate Nursing Education Demonstration Project, designed to increase the number of advanced practice nurses, begins the first of its four years. Findings in 2017 suggest nursing has uncovered a promising avenue for increasing the number of primary care providers at a time of national shortage.


The number of employed nurses with a doctorate degree doubles, from about 8,000 in 2009 to nearly 17,000 in 2013.


AARP and RWJF establish the Nurses on Boards Coalition, with its goal of improving the health of communities and the nation by getting 10,000 nurses on boards by 2020.


The IOM assesses progress made on its 2010 Future of Nursing report, noting successes and also urging greater emphasis on diversity.

The Campaign introduces to Action Coalitions the role nurses play in building a Culture of Health.


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs lifts limits on most APRNs at VA facilities. Now nurses may treat patients regardless of state restrictions.


The Campaign expands its focus on health equity. The shift toward social determinants of health is part of ongoing efforts to emphasize inclusion and diversity in nursing.

The number of RN-to-BSN graduates more than triples between 2009 and 2017.

RWJF releases Catalysts for Change: Harnessing the Power of Nurses to Build Population Health in the 21st Century, documenting nursing’s role in the need to prevent illness, rather than simply treat it.

The Campaign publishes Nursing Education and the Decade of Change: Strategies to Meet America’s Health Needs, highlighting historic shifts in nursing schooling.

Over seven years, the nursing workforce has become more diverse: Since 2010, the number of minority RN graduates increases 43 percent and the number of male RN graduates increases 29 percent. Also up: the proportions of minority RN graduates and male RN graduates.


The Campaign gives Nursing Innovations Fund awards to select Action Coalitions, and does it again in 2019 and 2020.

The Campaign increases its focus on health equity and renames its Diversity Steering Committee the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee.

The Campaign starts its work on Population Health in Nursing. The project explored promising models of nursing education and practice related to improving population health. Through this project, the Campaign publishes three reports:


The Campaign teams with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health and the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to host mentor training programs. The goal is to increase the rates at which minority nursing students succeed, and become nurses.


The 2018 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (NSSRN) shows that RNs with a bachelor’s degree, or higher, in nursing grew from 50 percent in 2008 to 64 percent in 2018; the nursing workforce also became more diverse in that time.

The Campaign develops a Health Equity Toolkit which provides the tools, resources, and information that nurses, as well as Action Coalitions and their partners, need to help their communities by tackling the social determinants of health—conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including social and economic factors that have a great influence on people’s health.


The Campaign, in partnership with AARP’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Thought Leadership teams, holds a series of virtual convenings, the Health Equity Action Forums, with the goal of engaging a range of stakeholders, including consumer, business and health care organizations, on improving our nation’s health equity through a more diverse nursing work force.

The Campaign celebrates 10 years of nursing progress and looks ahead.

The National Academy of Medicine releases the future of nursing 2020-2030 report, The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity, a blueprint for the nursing profession to help improve health equity and reduce health disparities for the next decade.

IMPROVING ACCESS TO CARE About 83 million people in 23 states and the District of Columbia now have direct access to nurse practitioners who can provide full care. The green depicts states with full practice authority for nurse practitioners.