Experts discuss the shortage of healthcare providers

Experts recently got together to brainstorm new ways of dealing with the expected shortage of primary care specialists at the Critical Conditions: Preparing for the 21st-Century Nursing Workforce symposium hosted by The Chronicle of Higher Education on June 21.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. needs to train at least 580,000 nurses for the health care industry by 2018. These professionals will need to posses more advanced skills, such as those obtained through a master’s of science in nursing program.

At the recent symposium, academic and industry leaders discussed the educational and policy strategies that will have to be adopted in order to meet the growing need for primary care providers in the country. As less than 50 percent of registered nurses possess bachelor’s degrees or higher, and the need for professionals with graduate-level qualifications is greatest, much of the discussion revolved around drawing individuals into master’s of nursing programs.

“Academia needs to partner with organizations employing nurses to ensure that students are learning the skills employers need today,” said Dawn Bazarko, the senior vice president for the Center for Nursing Advancement at UnitedHealth Group and a panelist at the recent symposium.

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