With the nation’s health-care system facing a potentially critical shortage of nurses, Duke Medicine has announced it will double the number of advanced-practice nurses it trains, adding more than 200 trainees by 2016.
The move is part of a four-year, $200 million project by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to increase the number of nurses with advanced degrees who can deliver primary care. Duke is one of five U.S. hospitals receiving HHS funding.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, as many as 1.2 million additional nurses will be needed by 2020 to fill newly created jobs and replace retiring nurses. But nursing schools are facing their own challenges recruiting and hiring teachers to train those additional students.
“Nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists are at the forefront of providing care to thousands of people every day, and the need for these highly qualified nurses will continue to increase dramatically,” says Catherine Gilliss B.S.N. ’71, dean of the nursing school and vice chancellor for nursing affairs. Beyond providing education and training, she says, the HHS project “is also important in shaping federal policy in support of advanced-level nurses.”