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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    House Document No. 26

    Document Title
    Report of the Healthcare Workforce Task Force

    State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

    Enabling Authority
    Appropriation Act - Item 145 I.1. (Special Session I, 2006)

    Executive Summary
    Statement of the Problem

    The shortage of registered nurses and other allied health professionals in Virginia is a critical workforce issue that the Commonwealth needs to continue to address and emphasize through policy, legislation, and budgetary decisions. As the segment of Virginia’s population above age 65 increases, so does the demand for qualified nurses. At the same time, factors both within and outside the healthcare profession have rendered increasing the supply of nurses and nursing faculty difficult. Combined, these conditions have left Virginia with a nursing shortage that is anticipated to escalate.

    Statewide and regional studies have shown that the Commonwealth needs 1,614 additional registered nurses each year to meet the growing demands. If no action is taken, it is believed that by 2020 the Commonwealth will have a nursing shortage of approximately 23,000 registered nurses.

    Nurses play a critical role within the healthcare community. Meeting the existing and future demands for nurses is vital to the stability of Virginia’s healthcare system. Key findings of SCHEV’s 2004 report, "Condition of Nursing and Nursing Education in the Commonwealth" indicate that:

    1. The demand for nursing services in the Commonwealth is growing. General population growth, an increase in Virginia’s aging population, and trends in healthcare services utilization are major causes for the increasing demand for qualified nurses.

    2. The supply of RNs will become inadequate as demand continues to grow. Additional nurses are needed to meet this demand and to replace those nearing retirement.

    3. Numerous nursing education programs are located in Virginia, but serious limits exist in the number of enrollees that can be accepted. Any expansion of nursing education programs is dependant on having an adequate number of and well-prepared nursing faculty.