Nurses were on the frontlines of our health systems long before being thrust into the spotlight by COVID-19. In America, nurses represent the largest segment of the health workforce and there are four times as many Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) as physicians. Nurses are often the first, last, and primary touchpoint for patients and families.
Nursing shortages predate the pandemic, and the gap is expected to grow even more acute as nurses retire, the population ages, and the rates of noncommunicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes increase. By 2030, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects a shortage of over 150,000 LPNs nationwide and a shortage of RNs in seven states, four of which — California, Texas, New Jersey, and South Carolina — will face deficits of greater than 10,000 nurses.
We need to scale training for nurses to address our country’s long-term healthcare needs. Piloting innovative strategies to make nursing education more affordable and accessible will enable us to reach that goal. Increasing access to training will help bring more diversity to the nursing field, and increase economic opportunity for students from low-income and minority communities to pursue nursing careers.
Income Share Agreements (ISAs) offer an opportunity to train and deploy more nurses. Unlike student loans where students must pay back the loan regardless of student outcomes, ISAs only require repayment after students are employed in a good-paying job. When an ISA is student-friendly and impact-first, we call it a Career Impact Bond (CIB). By providing transparent terms, strong student protections, and wraparound support services, CIBs expand access to low-income and underserved individuals who have been excluded from traditional nursing programs.
Our new report Increasing Access to Nursing Training: Student-Centered Income Share Agreements as a Potential Solution, shares how Career Impact Bonds can help students build a pathway to economic mobility while helping to address the nursing shortage.
Training providers interested in learning more, please contact Hydie Hudson.