History of the Workforce Commission

History of the Workforce Commission (2000-2010)

For years, America has experienced a nursing shortage – caused, over time, by both an increased demand for nursing services and a general decline in the number of people entering the profession. Today, the shortage is estimated at 150,000; by 2020, various estimates show, it could range between 500,000 and 800,000.

Recognizing this long-term challenge, the Academy in 2002 formed a Workforce Commission to develop strategies for dealing with the shortage. Members include nursing executives, deans, faculty and managers at esteemed organizations and institutions. 
The Commission’s work focuses on:

  • Identifying practice environment changes that will enable nursing to meet the demand for care despite an increasing shortage of personnel. Developing a model for workflow process analysis as the first step for creating future practice environment states.
  • Finding better ways to use medical technology, so that the health care system makes the most efficient use of the nurses it does have, and so that nurses’ workloads are manageable (job-related stresses being a major factor in the loss of experienced nurses). The Commission works closely with technology manufacturers, educators, clinicians and researchers in this regard.
  • Building up the faculties of America’s nursing schools to ensure there are enough knowledgeable, experienced nurse educators to prepare the next generation of nurses for frontline work. In recent years, applications to nursing schools have grown substantially, but many prospects have been turned away because there were not enough faculty to teach them. The Commission has, among other things, encouraged development of additional accelerated programs to prepare new faculty members.

In December 2005, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded a grant to the Academy for a project called "Technology Targets: A Synthesized Approach for Identifying and Fostering Technological Solutions to Workflow Inefficiencies on Medical/Surgical Units."

A major component of “Technology Targets” is a process called Technology Drill Down (TD2), which represents an opportunity to develop an improved process for identifying technological solutions to medical/surgical unit workflow inefficiencies. Twenty-five hospitals and health care systems participated as a TD2 site between March of 2006 and May of 2007. All of the sites found the process beneficial in identifying workflow issues and areas most ripe for technological fixes as well as process improvements.

The Workforce Commission continues to look at the big picture – identifying public policies, health care industry practices, institutional characteristics and other factors that can be altered to assure a steady of flow of more well-prepared people into nursing, and to gain the commitment of those people to a full career in the profession.

Return to Technology Drill Down