Nursing & Allied Health Initiative: Big News-62% Increase in BSN graduates in MA from 2010 to 2015!

MA Action Coalition (MAAC)

Springfield Technical Community College nursing students

The MA Action Coalition is part of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a nationwide movement to improve health and health care through nursing. The Campaign, a joint initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the AARP Foundation, includes 51 Action Coalitions working to implement the recommendations from the landmark Institute of Medicine (IOM) report: The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. MAAC is a partnership of the MA Department of Higher Education and the Organization of Nurse Leaders of MA and RI.

Willingness to serve: Are you interested in working with the MA Action Coalition? DOC Fill out a form and send it to Pat Crombie, MAAC project director at


What's New

Learn Best Practices for Increasing Capacity and Diversity in the Nursing Workforce

Over the course of the APIN II grant, the MAAC has continued to disseminate best practices from the local and national level to large numbers of nursing leaders and gather important feedback from them. Our expanded outreach efforts have included presentations at meetings of nursing organizations and other stakeholder groups like the Organization of Nurse Leaders (ONL).

Download the presentation: PDF ONL Leadership Academy Presentation November 4, 2016

For more information or to arrange for a presentation, please contact Pat Crombie at

3rd Annual MA Healthcare Workforce Summit

Innovation, Education and Partnerships for Building a Culture of Health

Panelists shared experiences with innovative initiatives to improve the health of their communities. (Left to right) Facilitator Amanda Stefancyk Oberlies, Organization of Nurse Leaders, MA, RI, NH, CT; Dr. Wendy Brooks Barr, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center; Charlotte Stepanian, MA Association of Public Health Nurses; Julia Dyck, Health Care Workforce Center; Sharon Callender, Mattapan Community Health Center; Kathleen O’Brien, Everett Community Health Partnership.

On September 30, 2016 Nursing and Allied Health Professionals joined the Massachusetts Action Coalition for networking, poster presentations, breakout sessions and a keynote address from Dr. Joanne Disch, former president of the American Academy of Nursing and professor at the University of Minnesota, at the third annual MA Healthcare Workforce Summit entitled, "Innovation, Education and Partnerships for Building a Culture of Health."

Click here for materials from the summit.

Impact of DHE Nursing & Allied Health Initiative Grants

From the beginnings in 2005, grants from MA Department of Higher Education (DHE) have had a tremendous impact on nursing education and healthcare workforce development. What started as a “coalition of the willing” to fix the critical problems is today a strong professional group, the MA Action Coalition (MAAC), working to advance the quality of nursing education and training to meet current and future demands in a rapidly transforming world of healthcare. The MAAC is proud to be part of a national campaign to strengthen the nursing profession. Guided by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, Massachusetts nurses are providing leadership for this national work, sharing our success stories and learning from others across the country.

Learn how DHE nursing grants align with the goals of Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) Grants and National IOM Priorities: PDF Impact of DHE Nursing Grants - Telling Our Story

The Case for a Greater Percentage of BSNs in the Post-Acute Setting

In past research, the “nurse education” variable was overwhelmingly dichotomized as Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). It was not until 2003 that the RN level of nurse education became more specific, e.g. Diploma, Associate’s Degree in Nursing, (ADN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). This occurred almost exclusively in studies of the acute care setting.

Although the case has been established that a better-educated RN workforce is critical in acute care, evidence is now emerging that similar investments in the RN workforce across the continuum of care are equally as important as care is moving with increasing speed to these settings.

PDF In Brief: The Case for a Greater Percentage of BSNs in the Post-Acute Setting

MA Nurse of the Future Nursing Core Competencies© (MA NOFNCC) 2016 Implementation Survey

The MA NOFNCC were developed by the MA Nurse of the Future Competency Committee as an outcome of the 2006 working session Creativity and Connections: Building the Framework for the Future of Nursing Education and Practice hosted by the MA Department of Higher Education and the MA Organization of Nurse Executives. A three-year process of reviewing the literature; analyzing state, national, and international practice and academic standards; projected patient demographics and health care needs in MA; and, gathering feedback resulted in 2010 with a list of ten MA NOF Nursing Core Competencies as well as the MA NOFNCC Model. The intent of this survey was to document among MA healthcare institutions the extent to which (if any) the MA NOFNCC have been integrated into the curriculum in academic settings or are being used in practice settings.

PDF 2016 Implementation Survey: Summary Brief
PDF 2016 Implementation Survey: Executive Summary only

A Looming Faculty Shortage

A survey developed by the MAAC Faculty Opportunities Project Team and administered by the UMass Donahue Institute found that there are currently 1,328 faculty vacancies across the United States. A major reason? Qualified students are not being accepted into nursing programs. In 2014, U.S. nursing schools turned away $68,938 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs.

PDF Summary Report: 2015 Massachusetts Nursing Faculty Workload Survey
PDF Presentation: Identifying and Describing Nursing Faculty Workload Issues

Results of Survey Regarding the Step Ahead BSN Brochure

The UMass Donahue Institute (UMDI) worked with the Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) project to develop and implement a survey regarding usage and impressions of the Step Ahead BSN brochure that was being utilized by APIN to inform RNs and LPNs about the benefits of, and opportunities for, going back to school to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN).

PDF Download the Survey Summary Brief

Updated Core Competencies, Toolkit & Webinar for Implementation

Nearly six years after the publication of the Nurse of the Future Nursing Core Competencies© - Registered Nurse (NOFNCC-RN) and their implementation into academic and practice settings across the state, the Nurse of Future Competency Committee has just published an updated version.

Download the updated RN competencies– along with a new competencies toolkit with resources to help facilitate the implementation of the competencies, and a detailed webinar with additional information– on the What's New page.

>> Core Competencies Updated for Registered Nurses in Massachusetts
>> MA Action Coalition Releases an Updated Nursing Core Competencies Toolkit
>> New Webinar - Nurse of the Future Nursing Core Competencies, The Future is Now - produced in April

New Diversity and Inclusion Plan

The United States is a diverse melting pot. It is estimated that by 2043, racial and ethnic minorities will constitute more than half of the U.S. population. With the nursing profession constituting the largest segment in the U.S. workforce (over 3 million members), increasing diversity in the workforce is crucial.

The goal of the MAAC Diversity and Inclusion Initiative is to reflect the diversity of Massachusetts’ population throughout the nursing workforce, in leadership levels as well as direct care roles, across all practice settings and throughout nursing education. Priority groups for our work include race, ethnicity, gender, and age. MAAC is focused on immediate actions as well as strategies and tools that will sustain long-term change, building a culture of health with culturally congruent care while diversifying our nursing workforce.

PDF MA Action Coalition Diversity and Inclusion Plan May 2016
PDF Workforce Diversity Toolkit: A Resource for Employers

Preparing the Nursing Workforce to Transform Healthcare

National & State Perspectives, Initiatives are Focus of MA Workforce Summit

More than 150 nurses and leaders from across the healthcare spectrum attended the 2nd Annual Massachusetts Healthcare Workforce Summit and shared updates on national and statewide progress in developing a more highly educated and diverse nursing workforce, including data from successful initiatives in academic and practice settings.

The September 25 event was organized by the Massachusetts Action Coalition (MAAC), a partnership of the MA Dept. of Higher Education and the Organization of Nurse Leaders of MA & RI, which is leading a statewide campaign to transform health care through nursing education and practice innovations.

“Over the last four years, the Massachusetts nursing community and Department of Higher Education have made strong progress in implementing the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” said Patricia Crombie, MAAC Project Director. “Our goals now are to energize and engage more healthcare employers in this work and to develop initiatives and partnerships that can sustain this progress over the coming years.”

>> Learn More

Nursing Education Transfer Policy

In 2012, Massachusetts received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to advance the work of increasing the percentage of the RN workforce who hold a BSN or above. As part of this initiative, the Department of Higher Education established the Nursing Education Transfer Compact (NETC) Working Group to create a seamless, cost effective, timely and transparent pathway for students to progress from community college Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at a state university or UMass. Their recommendations formed the Nursing Education Transfer Compact, which was approved by the Board of Higher Education in January 2014. After the one year implementation period of further refinement at the campus level, the following nursing education transfer policy was finalized in March 2015, with the expectation that full implementation should occur at all public institutions no later than Academic Year 2015-16: PDF Executive Summary (March 2015)

Download the full PDF Press Release

Education Agreements in Massachusetts and North Carolina Will Help Nursing Students Earn BSNs - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation May 12, 2015

Additional Resources:

PDF Nursing Education Transfer Compact (January 2014)
PDF Campus and Nursing Community Activities to Implement NETC (February-December 2014 )
PDF Nursing Education Transfer Compact Implementation Survey: Summary Brief (February 2015)

Report Explores the Complex Challenges of Nursing Faculty Capacity

Boston, Mass. -- Massachusetts higher education and health care leaders have been working on initiatives to advance and expand the nursing workforce, with the goal of raising the percentage of Registered Nurses with a BSN or higher from 55% to 66% by 2020. Achieving this goal is contingent upon many factors, such as classroom and laboratory facilities, clinical opportunities, and sufficient faculty capacity within nurse education programs.

Nursing schools nationwide report a shortage of faculty and an inability to hire additional faculty. Among the reasons reported are (a) insufficient funds to hire new faculty; (b) unwillingness of administration to commit to additional full-time positions; (c) inability to recruit qualified faculty because of competition for jobs with other marketplaces; (d) and qualified applicants for faculty positions are unavailable in their geographic area.

A team of nursing faculty and administrative leaders at several Massachusetts colleges and universities, public and private, has explored the complex challenges of faculty capacity in the MA Action Coalition Report on Nursing Faculty Workforce Challenges in Massachusetts. The group is one of several project teams convened by the Massachusetts Action Coalition (MAAC) leading work under a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Academic Progression in Nursing grant. With the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and the Organization of Nurse Leaders of MA & RI as co-leaders, the MAAC is engaging health care providers, nurse educators, and public sector leaders to effect and support changes in how nurses are educated, trained, and practice in order to better serve the health care needs of the Commonwealth.

As it relates to the overall mission of the work, which is to address the need for sustainable, competent faculty to educate professional nurses, the goal for this initiative is to increase the faculty pool available to educate nurses from BSN through doctoral degrees. The strategies identified address challenges from both the recruitment and retention lens, as well as the retirement perspective.

PDF Press Release
PDF MA Action Coalition Report on Nursing Faculty Workforce Challenges in Massachusetts

Report: Employers Surveyed on Activities to Promote Advanced Education and Diversity in their Nursing Workforce

Boston, Mass. -- According to a recent study of Massachusetts health care employers, 90 percent of acute care hospitals have a formal goal to increase the proportion of nurses with bachelor’s degrees (BSN) in their workforce, but fewer than half require new hires or current nursing staff to achieve that level.

The 2013 survey of Massachusetts health care employers -- acute care and community hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and visiting nurse associations – provides an overview of the various activities employers are undertaking to promote advanced education and diversity in their RN workforce. Massachusetts has set a goal of boosting the percentage of nurses with bachelor’s degrees (BSN) from 55% to 66% by 2020. Studies show that higher proportions of BSN-prepared nurses are associated with lower rates of medication errors and mortality. Research also shows that BSN-prepared nurses have stronger critical thinking skills and make better care decisions.

>> More Info

Nurses Play Pivotal Role in Advancing Healthcare

Nurses are the largest workforce in America and are playing a pivotal role in advancing health care and improving patient care nationwide and in the Commonwealth. That message was highlighted repeatedly at the recent Massachusetts Healthcare Workforce Summit, attended by approximately 150 nurse leaders, educators, nurses, and health care employers from around the state.

The October 2, 2014 event was organized by the Massachusetts Action Coalition (MAAC), a partnership of the MA Dept. of Higher Education and the Organization of Nurse Leaders of MA & RI, which is leading a statewide campaign to transform health care through nursing education and practice innovations.

>> More Info

Report: Massachusetts Law, Regulations Among Most Restrictive in Practice of Advanced Practice RNs

Boston, MA -- While Massachusetts has led the nation in health reform, the laws and regulations that govern how some of the Commonwealth’s most highly trained nurses are authorized to practice remain amongst the most restrictive in the nation.

Legislative and institutional barriers prevent Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), including Certified Nurse Midwives, Nurse Practitioners, Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialists and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, from practicing to the full extent of their education and training. These restrictions limit patients’ access to high-quality, cost effective health care across a variety of specialties including primary care, internal medicine, and pediatrics where patient care needs exceed physician supply.

These findings, along with regional comparisons and a gap analysis, which assessed the Massachusetts Nurse Practice Act against the National Council of the State Boards of Nursing’s Consensus Model for APRN Regulation, are detailed in the MA Action Coalition Report, The Advanced Practice Nurse in Massachusetts.

>> More Info

Massachusetts Coalition Receives 2nd $300,000 Grant to Advance Nurse Education and Build More Diverse Nursing Workforce

BOSTON – July 31, 2014 - Massachusetts is one of nine states awarded a $300,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to create a more highly educated, diverse nursing workforce. This is the second RWJF grant, part of its national Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) initiative, to support Massachusetts' efforts to make it easier for current and future nurses to advance their education to the BSN or higher degree.

… During the two-year grant period, Massachusetts and the other states will develop sustainability plans to ensure that the work to promote seamless academic progression for nurses in their states will continue beyond the grant period. During Phase II, each state also will develop a robust diversity plan and focus on academic-practice partnerships to expand and support the work to date.

PDF Read press release

PRINCETON, NJ – July 28, 2014 -The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced that nine states have been awarded $300,000 grants in Phase II of its Academic Progression in Nursing program (APIN). APIN is advancing state and regional strategies aimed at creating a more highly educated, diverse nursing workforce. It is run by the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) on behalf of the Tri-Council for Nursing, consisting of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National League for Nursing, American Nurses Association, and AONE, which is leading the four-year initiative. “Action Coalitions” in all nine states that were part of Phase I of the program have met or exceeded their benchmarks, and are receiving funding to continue their work for two additional years. Funding to the states over the four years will total $5.4 million.

The states receiving Phase II APIN grants are California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington state. The grants will allow them to continue working with academic institutions and employers to expand their work to help nurses in their states get higher degrees, so they can be essential partners in providing care and promoting health, as well as more easily continue their education and fill faculty and primary care nurse practitioner roles. The Action Coalitions in all these states have been encouraging strong partnerships between community colleges and universities to make it easier for nurses to transition to higher degrees.

>>Read press release

MA Action Coalition Releases Nursing Core Competencies Toolkit

The Massachusetts Action Coalition (MAAC) has released “The Massachusetts Nursing Core Competencies: A Toolkit for Implementation in Education and Practice Settings," a new resource guide designed to help facilitate the implementation of Massachusetts Nurse of the Future Nursing Core Competencies© (NOFNCC). The toolkit includes a description of the 10 competencies and the value of each in context of curriculum/practice and features distinct learning activities for both settings with questions for reflection.

PDF Download the Toolkit
PDF Download the full press release
PDF Competencies Implementation Survey: Summary Brief August 2014

MAAC Featured in MARN Newsletter

April 11, 2014–In their March 2014 edition, MARN featured an article written by MAAC member Ashley Waddell, entitled, Time to Go Back to School? Massachusetts Action Coalition Works to Improve Academic Progression in Nursing.

"The long-running conversation about academic preparation level of nurses was reinvigorated with the release of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing; Leading Change, Advancing Health (2010). Right now, approximately 55% of Massachusetts’ nursing workforce holds a BS/N degree or higher. “This is a good starting place, but we have a lot of work to do to get to the recommended level of 80%,” notes Patricia Crombie, MSN, RN, Project Director of Massachusetts Action Coalition (MAAC)."

PDF Download the full article
PDF Read the newsletter

MA Board of Higher Education Supports New Nursing Compact, Endorses Effort to Streamline Student Transfer to Four-Year Programs

Boston, MA–February 21, 2014–The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) is taking steps to make it easier for nurses to pursue advanced degrees, with the goal of improving patient outcomes across the Commonwealth.

On January 28 the BHE endorsed a new Nursing Education Transfer Compact developed by the Massachusetts Action Coalition (MAAC), a partnership between the Organization of Nurse Leaders of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. The goals of the Compact are to provide a “seamless, cost effective, timely and transparent pathway” from community college nursing programs, where students earn Associate degrees in nursing (ADN), to state universities and UMass campuses, where they can earn Bachelor of Science degrees in Nursing (BSN). Eligible students are those who have completed an ADN at a Massachusetts community college, passed the NCLEX-RN exam, and completed the requirements of the MassTransfer program, which allows students to transfer general education credits.

PDF Download the press release

Massachusetts Action Coalition Featured in Robert Wood Johnson Publication

The Massachusetts Action Coalition has been featured in the September 2013 issue of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation publication, Charting Nursing's Future. Read how the Massachusetts Action Coalition is advancing Academic Progression through competency-based education.

PDF Download the full issue

Massachusetts Action Coalition Receives Grant

BOSTON – Tuesday, August 21, 2012 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today announced Massachusetts has received a $300,000 national grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help current and future nurses seeking to advance their academic preparation within the nursing profession. This funding will enhance the Patrick-Murray Administration’s overall plan to support jobs, education and workforce development and helps to address the growing demands and challenges of the health care environment currently facing the country.

>> More Info

Massachusetts Action Coalition Named Future of Nursing Action Coalition

ONL Directory Ad

The Massachusetts Action Coalition has been selected as an Action Coalition by the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, coordinated through the Center to Champion Nursing in America (CCNA), an initiative of AARP, the AARP Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), to ensure all Americans have access to high-quality care, with nurses contributing to the full extent of their capabilities.

PDF >> Press release

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