Grant Programs

Nurses for Tomorrow

Bolstering the Health Care Workforce

Nurses are an integral part of the health care system and their role continues to evolve. The Independence Blue Cross Foundation (IBC Foundation) is investing in nursing education through undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral scholarships as well as student nurse internships. Our Nurses for Tomorrow program is bolstering the nursing workforce by increasing the number of nurses pursuing faculty roles or clinical practice.

The Shortage of Nurses

The growing need for qualified nurses is a result of several factors including an aging population, the millions of newly insured under the Affordable Care Act and the shortage of nurse educators. Consider the facts:

  • Nationally, the shortage of registered nurses is 8.1 percent.¹
  • By 2025, our nation is expecting a shortage of 260,000 registered nurses, a shortage twice as severe as any our nation has seen since the 1960s.²
  • In Pennsylvania, the nursing shortage is expected to reach 14 percent by 2017.

There is still a strong interest in pursuing nursing education and careers. However, research shows that nearly 67,000 applicants to nursing schools were turned away in 2010 due to a shortage of spots. Nursing schools are faced with a rapid decline of educators as nursing faculty retire, with no one to fill their positions.

Nursing Education Grants

Nurses for Tomorrow awards grants to 21 select nursing schools in southeastern Pennsylvania, to fund scholarships for undergraduate and graduate nursing students and doctoral of nursing practice candidates. To date, the IBC Foundation has awarded over $5 million in nursing scholarship grants.

In addition, we fund PhD fellowships through a partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future Nurse Scholars Program.

Nursing Internship Program

The IBC Foundation's nursing internship program, which is co-sponsored by Independence Blue Cross, is open to undergraduate nursing students who attend one of the 21 nursing schools supported by the Nurses for Tomorrow initiative, and have completed at least one clinical rotation prior to the start of the program.

Two unique internship opportunities are offered through this ten week summer internship program.

  • Nursing internships at IBC: Student nurse interns gain experience in a health care/insurance administration setting.
  • Nursing internships at community health centers: Nursing students interested in exploring the field of public health intern at one of the Blue Safety Net community health center clinics.

Continuing Education

To support the development and education of the nursing community as well as foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing across the health care sector, we offer continuing education workshops on relevant nursing issues. To date, the IBC Foundation has hosted two workshops:

  • Inside Managed Health Care Plans: A free, instructional program focused on the business of health care and managed care practices and challenges.
  • The National League for Nursing's Advancing Care Excellence for Seniors (ACES)'s workshop: A day-long session dedicated to developing new and effective partnerships to improve care for the elderly, with a special focus on dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

The IBC Foundation is working to create additional opportunities for continuing education.

¹Information adapted from the Mayo Clinic website
²Journal of American Medical Association, November 2, 2007

The nursing challenge ahead

More than half of all nurses plan to retire between 2011 and 2020.¹