For the past year, the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation’s Hospital Workforce Collaborative has identified the industry’s biggest challenges and explored potential ways that businesses can collaborate to overcome those challenges and build a stronger region.

During that process, our collaborative leaders and members determined that the most significant hurdle facing Arizona’s health care ecosystem is a lack of specialty talent—specifically for specialty nurses.

With sustained growth, Arizona is projected to have a nursing shortage of 28,000 by 2025, according to a study by Becker’s Hospital Review. According to Burning Glass, approximately 20,000 of that figure will be for specialty nurses in key practices areas.

If we expect to make the Greater Phoenix region a world-class health care hub, then we need to expand and support our health care ecosystem. Our collaborative leaders determined that the best and most efficient way to combat this anticipated shortage is to address the lack of training programs to upskill existing, novice nurses in those specialty practice areas.

This is why the Foundation and our hospital leaders worked with Maricopa County Community Colleges District (MCCCD) to determine how industry leaders and education providers can develop a holistic solution to this broad, community problem.

The collaborative recognized that MCCCD would be the ideal provider to upskill nurses who already hold a Bachelor’s degree in nursing by carving out pathways for them to access stackable credentials. The credentials allow existing employees to build upon existing and future skills, and become certified in high-demand, high-need areas of care.

Together, we successfully advocated for $5.8 million in funding to develop essential simulation labs at Paradise Valley Community College and enhance training equipment at other MCCCD campuses upskilling specialty nurses. This funding and the creation of these training facilities will increase the region’s capacity to produce the specialty nurses that our community needs to provide world-class health care options to residents and visitors.

Our efforts and collaboration showcase the importance of industry and education coming together to build and enhance talent pipelines to ensure that our region is thriving and able to meet growing demands.

Posted by Danny Imes