Healthcare Reforms Gain in Education for Nursing, but Diversity Lags

Dec 7, 2015 5:30 PM ET

Healthcare Reforms Gain in Education for Nursing, but Diversity Lags

As the Affordable Care Act transforms U.S. healthcare, major changes are under way in nursing. A recent review by the National Academy of Medicine has evaluated progress on recommendations in a 2010 report called “The Future of Nursing.” That report called for revamping nursing education and eliminating barriers that prevented nurses from practicing to the full extent of their education and training.

The recent review finds that the goal of increasing the number of nurses with bachelor and doctorate degrees is being met. And 21 states now allow nurse practitioners to perform tasks such as prescribing certain drugs without an agreement from a physician. But the report also finds that diversity remains an issue.

Hispanics make up 20 percent of the general population ages 20 to 40, but only five percent of the RN workforce and seven percent of baccalaureate graduates. African-Americans make up 13 percent of ages 20 to 40, but account for only 10 percent of the RN workforce and nine percent of baccalaureate graduates. And of the three million RNs in the country, only nine percent are men. Both the previous and recent reports were commissioned and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

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