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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 22, 2004

UI, IDPH To Track Nurse Workforce In 15 Iowa Counties

The University of Iowa, in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), will collect data on the nurse workforce in a 15-county region in eastern Iowa.

The effort, called the Regional Registered Nurse Tracking Pilot Project, will gather information on currently licensed registered nurses in these counties, including demographics, education and the work settings in which the nurses provide patient care or other services. The goal of the project is to accurately determine the supply of, and demand for, nurses in all work settings in the target area.

The pilot project will focus on nurses currently working in Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Jackson, Jones, Tama and Winneshiek counties.

The Office of Statewide Clinical Education Programs (OSCEP) in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine is conducting the project under a $220,000 contract with the IDPH, which is using grant support from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. This is the second year of project. Last year, OSCEP collected nurse workforce information for a 13-county region in north-central Iowa. That effort will be sustained during this second phase of the project. Part of what is being tested is the feasibility to sustain the past tracking effort while expanding the work to a new region.

OSCEP, which also currently tracks all dentists, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in Iowa, will work with nurses, hospitals, clinics, area agencies and other nursing employers in the 15 counties to gather the information.

"Iowa still stands alone when it comes to tracking health professionals as a workforce at the state level," said Roger Tracy, assistant dean in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. "Other states have not yet made the investments of effort, technology and financial resources to develop tools that support workforce planning."

The IDPH Center for Health Workforce Planning will use the data to learn more about Iowa's working nurses, identify immediate workforce shortages and communicate findings to legislators, nursing leaders, educators and employers. The center also will play a central role in seeking funds to sustain and expand nurse tracking across the entire state.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, (319) 335-8032, david-pedersen@uiowa.edu.