Fostering the next generation of nurses

Published May 5, 2014

Think about the times you’ve received medical care. Who do you picture administering your vaccinations, taking your temperature or affixing the bandage? 

In most cases, the answer is probably a nurse.  Nurses are the largest component of the healthcare workforce, with more than 2.6 million registered nurses practicing nationwide. In fact, The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports that there are more than four times as many registered nurses in the United States as there are physicians! Most healthcare services involve some form of care by nurses, including pediatrics, women’s health, cardiac, oncology and long-term care.

The pivotal role RNs play in our healthcare system is recognized during National Nurse’s Week from May 6-12 every year. As we extend our collective thanks to this crucial component of the healthcare workforce, it’s also a time to recognize the increasing demand for even more qualified people to join the profession.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have an important stake in helping to foster the next generation of American nurses as part of our commitment to provide access to quality care for our members in every area we serve.  Florida Blue and the Florida Blue Foundation have taken a special interest in this endeavor, working with nurse educators, nursing associations and the Florida Center for Nursing since 2004 to improve health outcomes and increase the number of nurses caring for the people of Florida.

Since the establishment of Generation RNSM, a philanthropic program to support partnerships that address Florida’s nursing shortage, Florida Blue has made investments to develop a diverse, well-trained nurse workforce to meet the healthcare needs of Floridians.

The partnership is nationally recognized for excellence in its work to increase educational capacity, workforce diversity, and continuing education and professional development of nurses.  A total of 2,735 nursing and allied health degree-seeking students have benefited from scholarships as a result of investments made by the Florida Blue Foundation.

In addition to providing scholarships to educate the future nurse workforce, the investments enabled further support of Magnet®-designated facilities, which are healthcare organizations recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice, by highlighting the designation on provider lists available to Florida Blue members online.

The investments – part of The Power of Blue, The Blues® commitment to creating healthier communities - also resulted in The Florida Blue Center for Health Care Access, Patient Safety and Quality Outcomes at the University of Florida, which conducts research in nursing best practices.

To learn more about this and other Blue Cross Blue Shield community investments, download the full Investing in America’s Health report.