Census Bureau, 2010). Meanwhile, the University of Texas at Austin has developed an online nursing program that partners with health care institutions and enrolls students from across the state. The GCHSSC is identifying which institutions from the Gulf Coast area have joined with this online program so they can participate in developing a workforce plan for the region.

Faculty Shortage

The GCHSSC is addressing the local nursing faculty shortage in several ways. Nursing schools in three major area universities—the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and the Houston campus of Texas Woman’s University—have launched accelerated master’s of science in nursing (MSN) programs. In tracking the employment of these MSN graduates, however, the GCHSSC has concluded that most will be working in hospitals and not taking teaching positions. It is easy to understand why. Local hospitals pay RNs with an MSN degree 40 to 60 percent higher salaries than MSN-credentialed professors receive. The GCHSSC is working to address this problem.

Meanwhile, the George Foundation, a local philanthropic organization, is helping the University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston launch an accelerated PhD nursing program. Starting in fall 2010, a cohort of 10 MSN-prepared nurses will begin the program with the aim of completing their degree in 3 years. All students will receive an annual stipend of $60,000, allowing them to attend full time. In return, the new PhDs must teach for at least 3 years at the University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston or in any other nursing education program in the Gulf Coast region. This program is similar to programs in New Jersey and California that are funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, respectively.5


Taking into account the need to transform the way health care is delivered in the United States and the observations and goals outlined in Chapters 3 through 5, policy makers must have reliable, sufficiently granular data on workforce supply and demand, both present and future, across the health professions. In the context of this report, such data are essential for determining what changes are needed in nursing practice and education to advance the vision for health care set forth in Chapter 1. Major gaps exist in currently available data on the health care workforce. A priority for the NHWC and other structures and resources authorized under the ACA should be systematic monitoring of the supply of health care workers, review of the data and methods needed to develop accurate predictions of future workforce needs, and coordination of the collection of data on the health

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