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Nursing Shortage to Be Addressed by Grant to School of Nursing

Release Date: September 16, 2010

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Co-director Sung-Heui. Bae and director Dean Jean Brown with members from the Western New York Center for Nursing Workforce and Quality

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo School of Nursing in collaboration with the Catholic Health System, Erie County Medical Center, Kaleida Health and Roswell Park Cancer Institute has received a John R. Oishei Foundation grant of $100,000 to support the start-up for the Western New York Center for Nursing Workforce and Quality (WNY CNWQ).

The WNY CNWQ (originally called the WNY Nursing Workforce Collaborative) was organized by UB School of Nursing dean and professor Jean Brown PhD, RN, FAAN, during the summer of 2008 and brought together nurse leaders from the major health centers across the area for the first time to address the severe nursing workforce shortages projected for WNY.

"We all recognize the need to work together to address the critical nursing shortage in Western New York now and in the future," said Brown. In addition to the partners receiving the Oishei Foundation grant, nursing stakeholders from the Veteran's Administration Western New York Healthcare System, Niagara University, rural hospitals and other schools of nursing have been invited to participate.

The WNY CNWQ will address unprecedented turnover as the nursing population ages and retires. Over the next 10 years a 32 percent shortage is predicted for Erie County, while Western New York's rural counties may see as much as a 66 percent loss.

Low staffing causes nurses to suffer from burnout and leave. When staffing is inadequate, patient safety is compromised and risk of death in the hospital increases. In short, a decline in nurses can be costly in many ways. The WNY CNWQ partnership seeks to improve the quality of patient health care by increasing the number of nurses and by providing more support for current and future nurses.

The Oishei grant will be used to support the WNY CNWQ's three main objectives over the course of the next two years:

• To establish an organizational structure that manages its administrative affairs

• To develop a Western New York nursing workforce statistics and quality of care center

• To begin a pilot research project that establishes a way to test innovative approaches to nursing care and management.

UB research assistant professor and project co-director Sung-Heui Bae and professor Carol S. Brewer, both from the School of Nursing, are beginning the nursing workforce statistical research necessary to assess the working conditions of nurses in Western New York. They will not only evaluate nursing workforce numbers and characteristics but also job satisfaction among nurses, nursing quality of care and innovations in nursing care delivery.

Brown's objective as director will be "to use the Oishei funding to support this initiative and develop a sustainable organization that is a true partnership among institutions that educate nurses and that deliver nursing care."

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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