Jan 07, 2019

Nine Years Strong: A Look at What the Campaign Has Accomplished

Dear Campaign leaders,

Sometimes it’s hard to realize how big something is when you’re in the thick of it. That’s why, as we enter our ninth year of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, we want to step back to fully appreciate where we are.

You are leaders at a time of tremendous change in health care. You—we—are part of a historic movement that took off with the Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report. Together, you are bringing to life the Institute of Medicine findings of 2010 that have shaped our mission: That everyone in America can live a healthier life, supported by nurses as essential partners in providing care and promoting health equity and well-being.

As with all campaigns, ours is a series of successes and setbacks, monumental gains and temporary losses—and taking stock, we are thrilled to see the successes and gains growing.

Pillars: Points of Pride

You, our nationwide network of Action Coalitions, have helped push through the changes that are creating a Culture of Health. Together, we are:

Improving America’s access to high-quality care

  • Since the Campaign began in 2010, nine states have fully modernized laws so that millions of people are now able to access the full range of care provided by advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Six additional states made substantial improvements to their laws and ten states made incremental improvements that have all increased consumers’ access to high-quality health care.
  • At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2016 improved veterans’ access to care by allowing most APRNs to practice without restrictions at VA facilities.
  • The Center to Champion Nursing in America (CCNA), an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and RWJF that coordinates the Campaign, co-hosted with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners a series of regional workshops to discuss strategies for obtaining full practice authority for APRNs in states with conservative-leaning legislatures.
  • recent federal report recommending ways to increase Americans’ access to health care calls on states to expand scope of practice laws for ARPNs. The report was prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with the Departments of the Treasury and Labor, the Federal Trade Commission, and several offices within the White House.

Transforming nursing education for a better-prepared profession

  • The last decade has seen a revolution in nursing education as the Campaign brought together hundreds of experts in education, business and government to address longstanding lack of agreement around what nursing education should be. The results are five education models that provide flexible, streamlined options for nursing students—which in turn means more nurses than ever graduating with bachelor’s degrees. A new national effort to encourage academic progression and accelerate educational advancement for nurses across the country — the National Education Progression in Nursing Collaborative, or NEPIN — is building on this and the previous work of the Academic Progression in Nursing Initiative (APIN), a grant-funded effort of RWJF that concluded in 2017.
  • More nurses are obtaining their bachelor’s of science degree (BSN). In 2010 about 49 percent of registered nurses had a BSN; by 2017 that number grew to nearly 56 percent.
  • The Campaign is also involved in efforts to identify and disseminate promising models that incorporate and strengthen population health ideals into nursing education curricula.

Promoting nursing leadership

  • To see that nurses’ vast experience in care is positioned to improve public health, the Campaign helped found the Nurses on Boards Coalition. NOBC, which represents national nursing and other organizations, including AARP and RWJF, works to place 10,000 nurses on boards and other influential bodies by 2020 to improve the health of communities and the nation. We can achieve this goal, but only if all of you and your colleagues continue to go to the NOBC website to register your seat on a board. As of December 2018, nearly 5,500 nurses report serving on boards and that number continues to rise. The Campaign’s Champion Nursing Coalition also leads by example: Of the nearly 60 businesses that are members of this advisory group, 45 have nurses on their boards.

Increasing the diversity of nursing’s ranks

  • The number of minority students enrolled in and graduating from RN programs is increasing, and so is the number of men, as the Campaign promotes ways to broaden the composition of the profession so that it matches the country’s diverse population. From 2010 to 2017, the number of minority RN graduates increased by 43 percent and the number of male RN graduates increased by 29 percent. The proportion of minority RN graduates and male RN graduates is also on the rise.

View the Campaign dashboard to remind yourself how far we’ve come. And with our momentum, we know there’s much more ahead we will do.

Funding Success, Innovations Support

You’ve shown your mettle in your fundraising this year. We are proud to celebrate the $36 million* we have raised nationally—an amount that represents the powerful partnerships you have forged throughout the community and country.

We’re continuing what we started in 2018, when nine Action Coalitions were picked to receive up to $25,000 each in matching funds for their innovative ideas. This year, as you likely know, we are offering a similar but streamlined opportunity for Action Coalition’s new or ongoing projects. The goal is to support replicable initiatives that position nurses as leaders in building a Culture of Health and health equity. We look forward to receiving your applications by February 28.

National Academy of Medicine: A New Future of Nursing Report

As many of you know, because you have hosted listening sessions to inform it, the National Academy of Medicine soon will embark on a new report. Intended as a follow-up to the Future of Nursing report, this will examine how the nursing profession expands and fulfills its role in continuing to improve health and increase health equity throughout the nation. As with the 2010 report that jump started a movement, this will be funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Campaign for Action Director Susan Hassmiller will help lead this effort in her new role as the National Academy of Medicine senior scholar in residence and special advisor to the president in nursing.

2020 Celebration

Toward the end of 2020, the new National Academy of Medicine report will be released and its findings discussed at a gathering of Action Coalitions and other leaders in health. That meeting will be a chance, too, to celebrate the work of Campaign and how much closer we are to realizing the recommendations from the IOM on which we have built our goals and achievements.

As we look forward to the New Year, it’s a good time to remember: Over time, the changes you’ve helped create are huge. You—we—are making history. Thank you, and happy New Year.

Yours in health and well-being,

Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN
Senior Adviser for Nursing, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation;
Director, Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action
Susan C. Reinhard, PhD, RN, FAAN
Senior Vice President and Director, AARP Public Policy Institute;
Chief Strategist, Center to Champion Nursing in America


*as of January 2017