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Texas Receives National Grant to Build Nursing Workforce

Sept. 2, 2012 at 11 p.m.


AUSTIN– Texas is one of just nine states recently selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to receive a two-year, $300,000 grant to advance state and regional strategies aimed at creating a more highly educated, diverse nursing workforce so that nursing can better contribute to improving the U.S. health care delivery system.

In Texas, the grant funding, provided through a new RWJF program, Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN), will support state-wide efforts of the Texas Team Action Coalition, convened to advance the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, as it works to address the growing demand for high quality, cost effective and accessible health care across the state.

Other states chosen for the new APIN grants are California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and Washington. Action Coalitions in each state will begin work with academic institutions and employers on implementing sophisticated strategies to help nurses achieve higher levels of education and requisite competencies in order to improve patient care, and to help fill faculty and advanced practice nursing roles. In particular, the Texas Team Action Coalition will encourage strong partnerships between community colleges and universities in order to make it easier for nurses to transition seamlessly to higher levels of education.

Dr. Helen Reid, project director and Health Science Center Provost for Trinity Valley Community College said, "I am excited about continuing the tremendous collaboration between universities and community colleges started by the Perkins Leadership Grant group which created the Consortium for Advancing Baccalaureate Nursing Education in Texas. This grant will strengthen those partnerships and include practice which will be vital to make progress toward the goal of 80 percent BSNs by 2020."

In its milestone report of 2010, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended that by 2020, 80 percent of the nursing workforce be prepared at the baccalaureate level or higher in order to ensure access to high quality, patient-centered care. In Texas, less than 50 percent of the nursing workforce has baccalaureate or higher levels of education.

"The primary strategy for our grant is to advance baccalaureate nursing education in Texas using a state-wide model," explained Dr. Kathryn Tart, co-project director for the APIN grant and dean for the school of nursing at the University of Houston Victoria. "In the model, associate and baccalaureate degree nursing programs across Texas would adopt standardized general education courses along with concept-based curriculum of leadership, diversity, collaboration, quality and safety," she said. According to Tart, bringing resources together through the APIN grant can help streamline nursing education in Texas in order to produce a highly competent nurse of the future.

The two-year Phase I, $4.3 million APIN program is being administered by the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) on behalf of the Tri-Council for Nursing, which consists of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National League for Nursing, American Nurses Association, and AONE.

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