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How Is the U.S. Nursing Shortage Being Addressed?

The demand for care in the U.S. continues to climb, but this increased need is being met with a nursing shortage. Read about what the nation is doing to address this issue.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the U.S. is expected to experience a shortage of registered nurses (RNs), particularly in the southern and western states. An aging baby boomer population as well as a national movement toward healthcare reform are two major factors causing the demand for care to increase. So, what exactly is being done to meet this growing need despite the projected scarcity of RNs? Below, we outline some of the ways the nation’s nursing shortage is being addressed.

Statewide Initiatives

The nursing shortage is expected to affect both RN and nurse educator roles. In response to these projections, many states have implemented initiatives to help encourage individuals to pursue positions in the field. For instance, in 2014 the University of Wisconsin launched the $3.2 million Nurses for Wisconsin initiative to provide fellowships and loan forgiveness to future nurse faculty who agreed to teach after graduation.1 Though initiative objectives can vary depending upon individual state needs, each is aimed at addressing and counteracting the nursing shortage in some way.

Strategic Partnerships to Expand Education

In order to combat the nursing shortage and prepare more qualified RNs, student capacity needs to be expanded. To enhance this process, nursing schools are developing strategic partnerships to secure private support and funding. For example, in 2013 the University of Minnesota partnered with the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. The university incorporated a focus on enhancing veteran care into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing curriculum through a $5.3 million donation from the VA, which then enabled the University of Minnesota to expand program enrollment.

Career Promotion

Another effective strategy being leveraged to address the nursing shortage is simply bringing awareness to this healthcare concern. Organizations like the AACN are collaborating with policymakers, schools, and the media to garner attention and promote careers in nursing. Since 2002, Johnson & Johnson’s initiative—the Campaign for Nursing’s Future—has been attempting to improve the image of nursing and boost interest in pursuing vital roles in the field. This multimedia effort includes a website, recruitment video, and television ads, among other mediums.2

Earn Your Master’s Degree in Nursing at Walden

The healthcare industry is experiencing the largest area of economic growth in the U.S.,3 creating a steady rise in positions in healthcare administration, healthcare informatics, nurse management, nurse mentoring, and nursing education. And as healthcare evolves, emphasis will continue to be placed on preventative care, addressing increased rates of chronic conditions and providing the services needed by the aging baby boomer population. This positions those serving in a nursing role to contribute to a growing field that is expected to add over 371,500 jobs by 2028.4

When you enroll in Walden’s Master of Science in Nursing program, you can gain the skills you need to elevate patient care and position yourself for a variety of growing opportunities in the field—including the industry’s top jobs. And at Walden, an accredited university, you can earn your master’s in nursing online while you continue to work full time. That means you don’t have to put your career on hold while you further your skills and nursing competencies. With online education, there’s no need to completely rearrange your schedule or commute to campus—you can take classes at whatever time of day works best for you as you work to earn your degree and position yourself to make a difference in the nursing field.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a suite of nursing programs online, including a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission