Regents Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future of Nursing

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Regents Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future of Nursing

In April 2001, the New York State Board of Regents named a Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future of Nursing, chaired by Regent Diane O'Neill McGivern. The Regents Blue Ribbon Task Force has a critical role in addressing the current nursing shortage, solutions to the problem, and the long-term future of nursing. Task Force members were selected to represent a significant area of responsibility uniquely positioned to contribute to the resolution of the shortage. Members include leaders from education, health care and government. The Task Force's work is a model of multi-agency approach to identifying and acting on this critical health care issue.

As a result of an ambitious agenda and a steadfast commitment to a strong future for the nursing profession, the Task Force has released their findings and recommendations for resolving this looming health care crisis. In their report - "Protecting the Public" [PDF version for printing PDF 218 KB] - the Task Force recommends the following solutions to the nursing shortage:

  • Recruitment: Expand the nursing workforce by recruiting additional numbers of men, minorities, non-practicing nurses, and recent high school graduates.
  • Education: Provide additional academic and financial support systems to increase the pool of nursing school graduates and create career ladders.
  • Technology: Increase the application of labor-saving technology to eliminate unnecessary, duplicative paper work and improve access to and communication of patient information, thereby improving workplace conditions.
  • Data Collection: Develop a reliable central source of data on the future need for nurses in the workforce upon which employers, policy makers, futurists, researchers and legislators may base public policy and resource allocations.
  • Clarify Existing Laws and Regulations:
    • Scope of Practice for Nurses: Issue practice guidelines to clarify the legal scope of practice of nursing, including those tasks which do not require licensure. These guidelines will reaffirm the individual practitioner's responsibility for patient care, even within demanding workplace settings.
    • Patient Abandonment: Familiarize field with existing Regents regulations which describe patient abandonment - clarifying that refusal to work a double shift or other mandatory overtime in ordinary circumstances does not necessarily constitute professional misconduct. This information will be provided to nurses, hospitals, nursing homes and home care agency administrators.

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To provide information or comment on the nursing shortage, contact the Office of the Professions at:

  • Email:
  • Phone: 518-474-3862
  • Fax: 518-473-2056
  • Write: Office of the Professions
    New York State Education Department
    89 Washington Avenue, 2nd Floor, West Wing
    Albany, NY 12234

Photo credits: photos 1 and 3 are by Ansell Horn and provided courtesy of the New York State Nurses Association.

Last Updated: January 31, 2013