With America’s severe nursing shortage predicted to reach emergency levels by 2010, a national coalition of nursing leaders has united to launch a sweeping strategic action plan for ensuring the profession’s future health. Unveiled this summer at the 2002 American Nurses Association (ANA) convention in Philadelphia, Nursing’s Agenda for the Future focuses on addressing the complex, interrelated factors that are the root causes of the RN staffing crisis.

Collectively developed by leaders from more than 60 major nursing organizations–including the National Black Nurses Association, the Philippine Nurses Association of America and the Association of Black Nursing Faculty in Higher Education–the plan is organized into 10 key action areas. Among them are leadership and planning, delivery systems/nursing models, work environment, legislation/policy, education, recruitment/retention and diversity.

Some of the plan’s specific strategies for increasing diversity in nursing and recruiting more people of color into the profession are:

  • Establish national professional development models for mentoring, leadership and diversity for nurses across their career trajectory.
  • Address diversity issues by obtaining funding to support an increase in minority enrollment [in nursing schools], identifying a mobility track for nurses of diverse cultures throughout their careers and creating a specific curriculum to address diversity.
  • Recruit retired nurses to form the foundation of a professional mentoring corps.
  • Develop recommendations for regulatory, accrediting and credentialing bodies to address and incorporate diversity issues into regulations, standards and examinations.
  • Create diversity and cultural competence through educational programs and standards in the workplace.
  • Target legislation and funding for diversity initiatives.

The nursing brain trust that created Nursing’s Agenda for the Future plans to present its recommendations to health care institutions, policy-makers and consumers at a special Call to the Nation meeting to be held in late 2002 or early ’03. For more information, contact ANA at (800) 274-4ANA.

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