Transforming health care through innovation in the communities we serve
The IBC Foundation recognizes that nurses are critical to the health care delivery system and that the growing shortage of nurses and nurse educators in southeastern Pennsylvania threatens the accessibility of quality and affordable health care in our community.
It is projected that by 2025, our nation will experience a shortage of 260,000 registered nurses, a shortage twice as severe as any our nation has seen since the 1960s.¹ In Pennsylvania, the nursing shortage could reach 6 percent — approximately 6,000 nurses — this year, and by 2017 it could be as high as 14 percent.
While there is a shortage of nurses in most fields, of particular concern is the shortage of nurses and other health professionals who are specifically trained in geriatrics. Research shows that by 2030, one out of every two baby boomers will have arthritis, one out of every four baby boomers will have diabetes, 615,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s will be reported each year, and more than one out of every three baby boomers will be considered obese. Who will care for this generation as more and more baby boomers require routine and acute geriatric care?
Studies of nursing education and interviews with nursing school educators show that, while there are plenty of applicants for nursing programs, as many as 67,000 qualified applicants were turned away in 2010 due to a shortage of seats in nursing schools. There simply are not enough educators available, and that number continues to fall as nursing faculty retire and their positions go unfilled. Unless more nurses can be educated as teachers, nursing schools will continue to graduate only a fraction of the new nurses needed to close the ever-widening gap.
To address the shortage of nurses and nursing educators in our region, the IBC Foundation provides grants to nursing schools in southeastern Pennsylvania with which they can fund scholarships for undergraduate and graduate nursing students.
In 2011 alone, we awarded $1 million to 22 undergraduate nursing programs and 12 graduate nursing programs in the Philadelphia region. We will invest an additional $1 million in 2012.
Through this initiative, the IBC Foundation strives to impact the regional nursing workforce by:
¹Public Health Management Corporation Community Health Data Base. (2010). Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey.