American Academy of Nursing Receives Major Grant to Prepare Faculty, Nurses to Care for an Aging America

Article ID: 548174

Released: 16-Jan-2009 1:05 PM EST

Source Newsroom: John A. Hartford Foundation

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Newswise — The John A. Hartford Foundation has awarded the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) a $9.3 million grant as part of an expanding effort to reshape America's healthcare workforce. The award will help prepare expert geriatric nursing faculty to teach the next generation of nurses about the unique needs of the growing number of older patients.

The new grant builds on more than $21 million in funding provided by the Hartford Foundation since 2000, through which the AAN has developed the Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity (BAGNC) Initiative. In that time, BAGNC funded 155 post-doctoral scholarship and pre-doctoral fellowship awards. Of this group, 82 have become faculty members and have already taught geriatric nursing to nearly 12,000 nursing students across the country.

"The BAGNC is an important part of the larger effort required to ensure that nurses emerge from school better prepared to care for the older patient population they will inevitably face," said Patricia Archbold, DNSc, RN, the BAGNC Program Director at the AAN. "It is a long-term investment. The program supports the development of expert geriatric nursing faculty who, throughout their careers, will ignite passion for care for elders among nursing students, conduct needed research on geriatric nursing care, and provide leadership to improve health care for older patients."

Part of a Broader Healthcare "Re-Tooling" The multi-year, multi-million dollar award comes in the wake of a recent groundbreaking report from the Institute for Medicine (IOM), "Retooling for an Aging America, Building the Healthcare Workforce." This recommends broad investments in geriatrics training and care to address the emerging and future needs of a growing older adult population.

"As the largest ever generation of older Americans continues to make powerful contributions to our families and communities, the medical community must be better prepared to meet their unique needs," said Jack Rowe, MD, Chairman of the IOM Future Health Care Workforce for Older Americans Committee, which developed the report, and a Professor at the Columbia University School of Medicine. "Nurses are a critical part of the healthcare workforce, serving on the front lines caring for millions of older adults. But too many nurses, like other health professionals today, do not get sufficient geriatrics content in their training and education." A Multi-faceted InvestmentThe AAN grant has multiple pieces that address a variety of the IOM report's recommendations. First and foremost, funding will expand the number of trained geriatric nursing faculty who will teach this and subsequent generations of nurses. It will also build geriatric nurse leadership capacity through a series of conferences and create a Nursing Care Blueprint for Older Americans in 2030. Ten nursing schools across the country already designated as Centers for Geriatric Nurse Excellence will collaborate on this plan. (For more information about these schools, visit http://www.geriatricnursing.org/hcgne/hcgne.asp).

"Our ten-year goal is to have one faculty member with geriatric expertise in at least half (approximately 650) of the country's 1,300 nursing schools," said Corinne Rieder, EdD, Executive Director of the Hartford Foundation. "This grant will enable the BAGNC program to support 60 new scholars and fellows and, along with the 155 scholars and fellows already supported, should yield enough new faculty to make significant progress towards our goal. In turn, each nurse educated by these faculty members has the exponential capacity to change how millions of older adults are cared for and treated."

A Challenge for Nursing, the CountryThe program's impact is ever more important given the country's aging demographics. More than 37 million Americans are over age 65 and that number will almost double by 2030. According to the IOM report, although older Americans account for just 12% of the population, they are responsible for 26% of doctor's office visits, 35% of hospital stays, and 90% of nursing home use. The large and aging boomer generation will only increase these percentages in the years ahead.

Given current levels, there may never be enough geriatric nurse specialists to care directly for those over the age of 65. "The BAGNC scholars," said Archbold, "will not only build geriatric nursing competencies among thousands of undergraduate nursing students—the nurses of the future—they will prepare the faculty of the future as well, through their work with masters and doctoral students."

In addition to the Hartford Foundation, a number of other funding partners are also supporting new investment in the development of geriatric nursing capacity. Atlantic Philanthropies recently granted BAGNC $2.8 million in renewal funding to support 19 post doctoral nurse fellows, and the Mayday Fund has provided funding to support nurse scholars doing research in the field of geriatric pain management.

About the Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity (BAGNC)The American Academy of Nursing launched the BAGNC in 2000 with funding from the John A Hartford Foundation and in partnership with the American Academy of Nursing. The program produces expert researchers, academicians and practitioners who are already beginning to lead the field of gerontology nursing and ultimately improve care of the elderly. The program includes nine Hartford Centers of Geriatric Nursing Excellence and the distinguished Claire Fagin Fellowship Award and Scholarship Awards Programs. For more information, please see: http://www.geriatricnursing.org/.

About the John A. Hartford Foundation Founded in 1929, the John A. Hartford Foundation is a committed champion of training, research and service system innovations that promote the health and independence of America's older adults. Through its grantmaking, the Foundation seeks to strengthen the nation's capacity to provide effective, affordable care to this rapidly increasing older population by educating "aging-prepared" health professionals (physicians, nurses, social workers), and developing innovations that improve and better integrate health and supportive services. The Foundation was established by John A. Hartford. Mr. Hartford and his brother, George L. Hartford, both former chief executives of the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, left the bulk of their estates to the Foundation upon their deaths in the 1950's. Additional information about the Foundation and its programs is available at www.jhartfound.org.

About the American Academy of NursingThe American Academy of Nursing anticipates and tracks national and international trends in health care, while addressing resulting issues of health care knowledge and policy. The Academy's mission is to serve the public and nursing profession by advancing health policy and practice through the generation, synthesis, and dissemination of nursing knowledge. For more information, please visit: www.aannet.org.


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