Today’s Bachelor Degree is as valuable as high school diplomas were ten years ago. More and more students are turning to postsecondary education to make them stand out and help further their careers. The field of nursing is no exception. With a rapidly aging population and increase in diversity, trends in the population indicate a need for more highly educated nurses in the coming years.
To prepare for this need, the Tri-Council for Nursing, consisting of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National League of Nursing, the American Nurses Association, and the American Organization of Nurse Executives, will be implementing a two year initiative costing about $4.3 million. The initiative will be funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. On average, only about half of all nurses in the United States today have a baccalaureate degree or higher. The goal of the Action Coalitions’ program is to raise this to 80% by the year 2020 through encouraging leadership, cultural competence, inter-professional collaboration, and quality and safety, and to increase the diversity of the nursing workforce.
The Academic Progress in Nursing Initiative will allocate funding in up to $300,000 over two years to each of the nine state Action Coalitions that have made significant progress in reaching the goal of having at least 80% of its workforce obtain their bachelors in science in nursing (BSN). The Coalitions are required to implement two strategies—one strategy to advance academic progress in nursing and another strategy in employment for BSN nurses.
This initiative brings us a step closer to creating a continuing education environment that further enhances technical skills and fosters professional growth. The initiative will help make continuing education more accessible and less costly to those currently in the field and those aspiring to be. How will the initiative affect your plans for continuing education? Have you considered the benefits of an advanced degree in nursing? As a vocational nursing student, have you made concrete plans in pursuing a higher degree in nursing?