Evidence-Based Best Partnership Practices Between Education and Hospitals to Solve the Nursing Shortage

Tuesday, 8 July 2008: 8:50 AM
Carolyn M. Fong, RN, PhD , Nursing and Health Sciences, California State University, East Bay, Concord, CA

Learning Objective 1: critically analyze three major reasons for the nursing shortage in the United States

Learning Objective 2: identify two best practices between Nursing Education and Nursing Service to alleviate the nursing shortage in acute care hospitals

The contemporary nursing shortage has reached almost mythic proportions in the United States. The current shortfall is projected to worsen due to two factors: 1) growth in projected demand for nurses in hospitals and 2) limited capacity for expansion by nursing education programs. This paper reports on the evidence based best practices between education and service to build educational capacity to solve the nursing shortage.


Different data sources predict varying demand levels for RNs; however, all agree that the United States has a looming shortage with the potential to result in a health crisis. The average age of RNs is 46.7 years old, half are over the age of 50, and many will retire in the near future.

Building educational capacity continues to be the most urgent nursing workforce need. The number of applicants attempting to enter nursing schools continues to grow. This is a major opportunity to increase the number of nurses in the workforce; yet, enrollment is limited by the capacity in schools. Primary barriers to expanding educational capacity are: faculty shortages, lack of clinical placements, and limited funding for faculty salaries.


Secondary content analysis of qualitative data collected for the Chancellor's Office of the California State University (CSU) was completed to identify the best practices used for increasing education capacity between BSN programs and local hospitals. All public BSN programs in the CSU were included as the target population. Data related to the increased number of students admitted each year was one of the evidence-based indicators of best practices.


Eleven of fifteen state nursing programs responded to the survey (response rate = 73%). Various best practices to increase educational capacity were identified and will be shared in the presentation. Many practices included different types of partnerships for external funding to the nursing programs.