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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 18, 2005

UI, IDPH Tracking Nurse Workforce In 47 Iowa Counties

The University of Iowa, in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), will begin its third year of collecting data on Iowa's nurse workforce.

The Office of Statewide Clinical Education Programs (OSCEP) in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine is leading the effort, called the Regional Registered Nurse Tracking Pilot Project, under a 12-month, $230,000 contract with IDPH, which is using grant support from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Health Professions, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Over the past two years, OSCEP has collected nurse workforce information for 28 counties in northern Iowa. That effort will be sustained during this phase of the project while OSCEP adds 19 new counties in southeastern Iowa: Cedar, Clinton, Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Iowa, Jefferson, Johnson, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Mahaska, Muscatine, Poweshiek, Scott, Van Buren, Wapello and Washington counties.

OSCEP will gather information on currently licensed registered nurses in these 47 Iowa 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.

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 to gather the information.

"Iowa has an important resource in its health professions tracking systems," said Roger Tracy, assistant dean in the UI Carver College of Medicine. "We have workforce tools that aren't available in other states. On the other hand, this undertaking with the nurse workforce is our biggest challenge yet. It is a test for all concerned."

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.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at http://www.uihealthcare.com.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

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