Pennsylvania Assists in Developing an Accelerated Nursing Program

Creative solutions dealing with the national nursing shortage crisis are popping up everywhere as states grapple with an inadequate nursing staff. A survey conducted by The Pennsylvania Department of Health indicated that 20 percent of current nurses would be looking to leave nursing within the next five years, while 24 percent stated they would be out within six to ten years. All in all America will need 1.2 million nurses by 2014. The retiring baby boomers will both drain the workforce and be in dire need of healthcare in huge numbers.

Misericordia College of Nursing, in Pennsylvania, recently received a state grant of $100,000 to develop part-time accelerated nursing programs for prospective students who hold other degrees and desire to enter the nursing profession. Nursing burnout has become a significant problem due to the nurse-to-patient ratio and local healthcare facilities and states are doing all they can to increase staff. Nurses are working double shifts and going without breaks in an attempt to properly attend to patients. The historical lack of collaboration between physicians and hospital personnel is one of the root problems embedded in the nursing shortage and retention issue.

However, Pennsylvania is trying to do something about it. They are just now beginning to collaborate between State, industry, and academia in creating a platform where an open dialogue on the nursing shortage crisis can take place. Groups including the Rendell Administration, the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board, the Pennsylvania Center for Health-Careers, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation (PHEF) are working collaboratively to develop initiatives to meet the growing demand for nurses. In addition, Gov. Rendell and the Pennsylvania legislature have also provided approximately $7.5 million in the 2006-2007 budget to complement the current nursing education initiatives.

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