As the U.S. healthcare labor market continues to face unprecedented worker shortages, the nursing workforce pipeline is approaching a crisis point. It is estimated that by 2025, the United States will have a gap of between 200,000 and 450,000 nurses available for direct patient care.
Lawmakers in several states, including California, have recently passed bills designed to expand funding to incentivize solutions that generate more nursing assistants, vocational (practical) nurses, and registered nurses to ensure equitable care. But these solutions are not coming quick enough for many healthcare employers who have been increasing their use of travel nurses, often paying them as much as three times more than their full-time counterparts, driving up labor costs.
In California, we’re seeing higher-than-usual exits of seasoned registered nurses and slow absorption of new graduates, creating a 2021 gap in California of 40,567 RNs. We need to groom the nursing pipeline and, until new RNs are grown, other allied health occupations shall be needed to augment the care team.
Joanne Spetz, PhDDirector of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the UCSF HealthForce Center, and Board Member of Futuro Health
With plans to generate innovative and comprehensive solutions, healthcare workforce leaders Futuro Health and OpusVi have announced a new collaboration to develop healthcare workforce pathways from education to employment and advancement. The partnership intends to create more tuition-free entry points into the nursing path for jobs that are strategically aligned with California’s future healthcare employer trends and to work closely with those employers to customize student training to meet their organizational skill set requirements.
Both Futuro Health and OpusVi represent relatively new entities established by major health systems searching for better solutions to the industry’s acute workforce needs. Futuro Health was established by Kaiser Permanente, the largest healthcare plan in the country with 12 million members, and a nonprofit agenda to grow the next generation of allied health workers. Launched in the first year of the pandemic, during a period where higher education enrollment has dropped consistently, Futuro Health has already successfully brought over 7,000 adults back into higher education, with 80% diversity, to train at partner colleges.
OpusVi is backed by CommonSpirit Health, one of the largest nonprofit hospital systems in the U.S. OpusVi’s nursing residency offering for retention is the largest in the nation and reaches 45,000 nurses across 21 states.
The new partnership will build upon the success of recent collaborations between the two organizations, including co-developing a Community Health Worker with Behavioral Health (CHW/BH) Program. Futuro Health provided inclusive access to flexible and scalable training for more than 200 students debt-free since the CHW/BH program’s launch last year.
Our collaboration will focus on the breakdowns in the workforce pipeline. Our best practices can combine in novel ways and surface scalable solutions that pay attention to diversity and the skills needed for workers to be relevant.
Van Ton-QuinlivanCEO of Futuro Health
With an emphasis on working with employers in diverse, marginalized rural and urban communities, other goals of the new partnership include a focus on developing affordable, flexible training pathways across nursing and additional healthcare professions, while paving the way for students to advance in their career to higher paying positions through supplemental training, licensing, and add on micro-credentialing options.
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