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One Voice, One Plan.

South Carolina is experiencing a critical and growing shortage of health care workers. The number of new RNs being educated in South Carolina is inadequate to meet the current and projected workforce demands of the state. These nursing shortages in both practice and academic settings have been the topic of discussion and planning. Several state wide forums, sponsored by the South Carolina Organization of Nurse Leaders, chaired by Marilyn Schaffner, and the South Carolina Council of Deans and Directors, chaired by Dr. Marsha Dowell and hosted by the South Carolina Hospital Association were held in the summer and fall of 2006.

The primary challenge facing the health care organizations is the lack of nursing staff and the primary challenges facing our colleges and universities are twofold: a shortage of faculty and a lack of sufficient classroom space to accommodate qualified students. By 2020, projections indicate there will be a 48% increase in our state's need for RNs with only an 11% increase in supply. South Carolina hospitals are now spending approximately $77 million annually to hire temporary staff to accommodate for the shortage. Ultimately, the nursing workforce shortage will jeopardize quality of care and hinder economic development efforts in our state.

The forums, brought together nursing professionals, state legislatures, educators, chief nursing officers as well as representatives from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, area hospitals, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina, Board of Nursing, Department of Health and Environmental Control, Area Health Education Centers, and the South Carolina Nurses Association to discuss legislative activity around the country, national and state nursing workforce data and develop a proposed plan for the future of the nursing workforce in South Carolina.. The plan is entitled "One Voice One Plan" and addresses four major areas of common concern: 1) Creation of a plan to raise salaries of nursing faculty to more competitive levels; 2) Scholarships and other means of financial support for those nurses wishing to continue their education at the graduate level with specific emphasis on those that wish to teach to increase the number of qualified nursing faculty; 3) Development of new models and methods of nursing education, such as simulation based learning and 4) Creation of a center for nursing workforce data collection and workforce projections.

These groups have committed to sponsoring ongoing forums to continue to address these issues.

by Dr. Marsha Dowell, Chair SC Council of Deans and Directors
COPYRIGHT 2007 South Carolina Nurses Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Dowell, Marsha
Publication:South Carolina Nurse
Geographic Code:1U5SC
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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