Apr 29, 2014

New RWJF Paper Summarizes 2013 Community College Presidents’ Meeting, Highlights Recent Examples of Progress

Last April, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) convened a diverse group of leaders from community colleges, the Tri-Council for Nursing, and RWJF’s Academic Progression in Nursing Initiative (APIN). The purpose of the meeting was to address concerns about one of the key recommendations in the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health—that 80% of nurses in the U.S. attain a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) or higher degrees by 2020.

On April 11, 2014, RWJF released a paper that covers the proceedings of that meeting and highlights progress made in nine states around academic progression for nursing students and nurses already in the workforce. The paper was co-authored by Julie Fairman, RN, PhD, FAAN, RWJF Investigator in Health Policy Research and Nightingale professor in nursing, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and Donna Meyer, MSN, RN, president of the National Organization of Associate Degree Nursing (NOADN) and dean of Health Sciences & director of the Family Health Clinic at Lewis & Clark Community College.

The paper:

• Reinforces the essential role of community colleges in meeting current and future nursing workforce needs.
• Confirms the importance of university and community college partnerships to assure seamless academic progression for students to achieve the BSN.
• Shares the challenges experienced by community college nursing programs as more employers move to a higher percentage of BSN-prepared nurses in their workforce.
• Begins discussion of solutions, continuing dialogue, and strengthening partnerships.

Most nurses start their education at community colleges, and the Campaign for Action recognizes the important role community colleges play in helping nurses achieve higher levels of education. Significant progress has been made to strengthen partnerships between community colleges and universities, and the Campaign has identified four promising models for creating a new infrastructure in nursing education. All four models rely on the current infrastructure as a foundation for change.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-hosted meeting in April 2013 with community college presidents was an important step in supporting and strengthening essential academic and practice partnerships. The recently-released proceedings from this meeting illustrate RWJF’s acknowledgement of the essential role of community colleges as we move toward a more highly educated nursing workforce. This represents an important step as we continue to maximize use of resources, build on the current successes, and create the nursing education infrastructure for the future.