Exploring the role of philanthropy in overcoming a nationwide nurse shortage
Regional One Health Foundation is paving the way for the next generation of nurses by establishing a Nurse Residency Program in conjunction with the University of Memphis. The program was made possible through a generous $40,000 gift from
Anne and John Stokes and the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. Stokes’ gift was given in honor of Dr. Theresa Richardson for the impact she has made through her work as an inspiring nurse, teacher and mentor to nursing students at the University of Memphis.
The program provides the hands-
on training new graduates need to successfully transition from the classroom into patient care. “I often hear residents comment that while school taught them the basic skills they needed, it’s totally different when you enter the ‘real world’ where patients’ lives depend on you,” said Olivia Johnson, Program Coordinator for Regional One Health’s new Nurse Residency Program.
As the demand for healthcare continues to increase, initiatives like the Nurse Residency Program are critical in attracting, retaining and growing the nursing workforce. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recently reported, “The U.S. is projected to experience a shortage of registered nurses that will intensify as Baby Boomers age and the need for healthcare grows. Compounding the problem is the fact that nursing schools across the country are struggling to expand capacity to meet the rising demand for care given the national move toward healthcare reform.”
Dr. Lin Zhan, Dean of the Loewenberg School of Nursing at the University of Memphis, commented on the local effects of this projected shortage. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment projections anticipate 1.1 million job openings for registered nurses and advanced nurse practitioners between 2012-2022. While we now have more than 81,000 registered nurses in Tennessee, by the year 2020 we expect to experience a shortage of about 14,000 nurses.”
There are several factors contributing to the shortage of nurses, according to Dean Zhan. Those factors include:
• Limited capacity in our nursing schools to accept all qualified applicants.
• A high number of registered nurses reaching retirement age.
• High turnover rate of new nursing graduates.
Regional One Health’s new Nurse Residency Program is helping provide a solution to turnover among new nurses. All new graduates hired by Regional One Health are automatically enrolled in the 12-month program. The inaugural class, which kicked off in July, includes 19 new graduates, while a second class began in November with 11 nurses enrolled.
The extensive program consists of a series of learning and work experiences designed to assist recently graduated nurses in
the transition to their new patient care responsibilities. Residents are assigned a mentor and participate in guided clinical experiences and debriefing sessions to talk about and learn from situations they’ve encountered on the job.