Is health care payment reform impacting nurses' work settings, roles, and education preparation?

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This study explores nurses' work settings and educational preparation in the five years before passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and five years after ACA passage, with the aim of identifying areas for nurse educators' attention. The study setting was one small state undergoing rapid transition away from fee-for-service service and thus provided the ideal laboratory to assess the impact of health reform on the nursing workforce. A secondary analysis of data gathered during relicensure compared the nursing workforce at an interval of one decade, with surveys in 2005 (n = 4075; 65% response rate) and in 2015 (n = 6723; 97% response rate). Findings demonstrated an increase in the proportion of nurses who reported working in ambulatory care and community settings (p = 0.001). However, there was no associated decrease in the proportion of nurses who reported working in hospitals. Among respondents who reported employment in the ambulatory care/community settings in 2005, 34.3% had a BSN or higher, a proportion that increased to 41.2% in 2015 (p = 0.010); nevertheless, the greatest proportional increase was among AD prepared nurses (34% to 48%). Although new nursing roles emerging as a result of health reform offer baccalaureate nurses the opportunity use the full complement of their knowledge and skills, these data suggest that BS prepared nurses are not fully accessing these opportunities. Implications for nursing education and further research are detailed.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Professional Nursing