Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new report examining the factors driving America’s nursing shortage and what can be done to grow this crucial workforce. The piece looks specifically at how the United States has lacked a coordinated strategy to support the nursing workforce, and at how challenges in America’s higher education system obstruct efforts to increase the number of nurses in America and the critical role colleges and universities play in promoting economic, health, and racial equity. While the topic has long been a challenge, it has taken on increased urgency: The nursing workforce declined by 3 percent from 2020 to 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest such decline in more than 20 years.
The report identifies three key problems preventing colleges and universities from training more nurses, including a shortage of nursing educators, limited clinical placements for students to get hands-on training, and inadequate facilities and equipment. The report also offers steps that federal and state policymakers should take to address these challenges through coordinated planning, action, and investment.
“Nurses are critical to our nation’s health in towns across America—especially in rural and low-income communities—and no health care institution can function without a strong nursing workforce. As policymakers look to fortify our health care system in the wake of the pandemic, fixing the national nursing shortage by investing in America’s higher education system to graduate more nurses, boosting national and state coordination efforts to support the nursing pipeline, and retaining nurses should be top priorities,” said Jesse O’Connell, senior vice president for Education at CAP.
Read the report: “How To Ease the Nursing Shortage in America” by Marina Zhavoronkova, Bradley D. Custer, Anona Neal, Justin Schweitzer, and Marcella Bombardieri
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