In 2002, Johnson & Johnson launched the Campaign for Nursing’s Future to address the most profound nursing shortage in our nation’s history, by enhancing the image of the nursing profession, recruiting new nurses and nurse faculty, and helping to retain nurses currently in the profession. Since then, the Campaign has worked with professional nursing organizations, schools, hospitals and other healthcare groups to promote opportunities in nursing and increase awareness of the value of the nursing profession to our society and America’s healthcare community.
“Thanks in large measure to the Campaign, nursing has moved to the forefront of public consciousness over the past decade. The Campaign was way ahead in understanding that the national shortage of nurses was in many ways a lack of understanding and appreciation of the enormous contributions that nurses provide to people around the world,” said Marla Salmon, ScD, RN, FAAN, Senior Visiting Fellow at the Evans School of Public Affairs, and Professor of Nursing and Public Health at the University of Washington in Seattle.
According to Salmon, the invisibility of nurses and the lack of attractiveness of nursing as a career were issues that required a highly strategic approach that would raise awareness, act as a resource for nursing information, reward and recognize nurses, help develop the next generation of nurses, and inspire partnerships and collaborations for the future. In the past 10 years, the aggressive efforts of the Campaign have addressed those needs, helping to educate the public on the importance of nursing, and providing educational and financial resources for nurses, nurse faculty and nursing students alike.
In an effort to enhance the image and raise the visibility of nursing, the Campaign produced and regularly airs national TV commercials designed to showcase the skill and compassion of real nurses in their everyday jobs. Most recently, the Campaign launched a new series of commercials that focuses on nurses in the individual specialties of Pediatric Nursing, Emergency Room Nursing and Hospice Nursing. The Campaign’s TV advertisements have reiterated to the public the integral role that nurses play in patient care, thereby motivating more people to consider nursing as a career option.
“The Campaign’s concentrated public messages about the importance of nursing to the well being of virtually everyone have touched the lives and hearts of the public over and over again, and continue to encourage people to join this wonderful profession,” said Salmon. “Reaching individuals across the country in this way has been critical in beginning to address our country’s most challenging nursing shortage.”
In fact, a study published in the December 2011 journal of Health Affairs found that the number of young people entering the nursing profession is surging, providing relief from the recent nursing shortage. This study was conducted by Drs. David Auerbach, Peter Buerhaus and Douglas Staiger, who found that aggressive efforts to make nursing a more attractive career choice have contributed to a 62 percent increase in the number of young nurses (ages 23-26) entering the field between 2002 and 2009.
“Today, younger adults are entering the nursing profession at the same rate as we saw from the baby boomer generation, which is incredible, especially considering the variety of career opportunities that exist today. I believe this growth of young people entering the field is directly attributed to the Campaign’s efforts,” said Peter Buerhaus, PhD, RN, FAAN, Valere Potter Professor of Nursing and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies at the Institute for Medicine and Public Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
According to Buerhaus, the Campaign has helped contribute to the rise in social prominence of nursing in the last 10 years, creating greater public awareness about the roles of nurses and their importance in the healthcare system. “Promoting the image of nursing has not only improved the public’s views of the profession, but has also given nurses the faith and confidence to step up and take a larger role in improving the quality and safety of patient care,” he added.
Another major goal of the Campaign is recruitment of nurses and nurse faculty, and in the last 10 years, the Campaign has distributed more than 32 million pieces of recruitment materials in English and Spanish, including brochures, posters and videos, to many junior high schools, career centers and community health centers, as well as to every high school, nursing school, hospital and nursing organization in the country – attracting more than 750,000 men and women to join the profession, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
The Campaign has also seen success in the recruitment of nurses through the many scholarship programs and grants given out each year to nursing students to help support their nursing education. In partnership with the Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association (FNSNA), the Campaign has raised funds for regional nursing communities, in cities and regions where the nursing shortage is most acute, through Promise of Nursing galas. The Promise of Nursing events have raised more than $19 million since 2002 for undergraduate nursing scholarships, faculty fellowships and nursing school grants.
“Johnson & Johnson has done so much to put the profession of nursing on the public’s radar, especially for young people and second career seekers,” said Diane Mancino, EdD, RN, CAE, FAAN and Executive Director of the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA). “We are proud to have been a partner with the Campaign throughout the years and know that they will continue to have an impact on the nursing community for many years to come.”
The Campaign features a comprehensive website – www.discovernursing.com – for individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in nursing. Discovernursing.com contains searchable links to hundreds of nursing scholarships and more than 1,700 accredited nursing educational programs, funding resources, and information on more than 100 specialties and career paths for those with nursing degrees. Profiles of real nurses can also be found on the site, creating an opportunity for those interested in nursing to get a glimpse into the everyday lives of nurses in various specialties.
In addition to its website, the Campaign offers an opportunity for nurses and nursing students to engage in conversation surrounding relevant topics in nursing and Campaign initiatives on the Nursing Notes by Johnson & Johnson Facebook page and on Twitter @JNJNursingNotes.
Retention of nurses currently in the profession is another key priority of the Campaign, and as part of that, the Campaign offers a variety of communication channels, awards programs and complimentary materials for nurses in various specialties, including free brochures, posters, podcasts, videos and software.
Additionally, the Campaign has developed several nurse retention tools and resources, including the “Virtual Nurse Manager” CD-ROM, created with the help of a team of real nurse managers and executives to provide leadership training for newly-promoted nurse managers; “Your Future in Nursing,” an innovative and informative software program which offers an avatar-led simulated environment for student nurses; and Happy Nurse™ Game, a mobile app developed to help nurses decompress and unwind. In 2011, the Campaign also launched the Amazing Nurses contest, a national contest designed to celebrate and recognize the inspirational care that nurses provide to their patients on a daily basis.
“As a nurse and administrator, I’ve seen firsthand new nurses coming into their careers and professions, and it’s evident that the Campaign has helped support new nurses, as well as inspire nurses who are already in the profession, with great programs, commercials and collateral materials,” said Barbara Tofani, MSN, RN, and Administrative Director at Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center in Flemington, N.J.
Additionally, in response to a critical shortage of faculty across nursing schools, the Campaign has expanded its emphasis on nurse faculty retention. In September 2007, the Campaign and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) launched the Minority Nurse Faculty Scholarship to alleviate the growing shortage of nurse educators and promote diversity through financial and professional support to full-time minority students enrolled in graduate programs who plan to work as nursing faculty upon graduation.
“There’s a true genuineness to the Campaign – a real sense of caring – caring for the nursing profession and caring for the patients that we treat. I think that’s why it has lasted for 10 years and will continue to grow stronger each year,” said Tofani.
To learn more about the Campaign for Nursing’s Future, visit www.discovernursing.com.