Group forms to address shortage of physicians, nurses

October 5, 2006

In an effort to combat the current health care workforce shortage, a group of influential leaders has joined together to create the Council on Physician and Nurse Supply.

In an effort to combat the current health care workforce shortage, a group of influential leaders has joined together to create the Council on Physician and Nurse Supply.

The council is co-chaired by Richard Cooper, MD, and Linda Aiken, PhD, professors of medicine and nursing, respectively, at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Both Dr. Cooper and Dr. Aiken project that the health care industry could potentially lack as many as 200,000 physicians and 800,000 nurses by 2020.

"By training more doctors and nurses now, it may be possible to avert long waiting times for routine health care and remedy the understaffing of hospitals," Dr. Cooper and Dr. Aiken said in a written statement.

The council is based in the University of Pennsylvania's Consortium for Health Workforce Research and Policy, a joint program of the Schools of Nursing and Medicine and the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. It is supported by AMN Healthcare, a San Diego-based health care staffing organization.

In order to reach its goals of raising awareness of problems facing physician and nurse supply and shaping public policy toward improvements in these areas, the council aims to monitor data and act as an advocate for change. One initial recommendation proposed by Dr. Cooper and Dr. Aiken includes increasing efforts in the education of the nation’s future medical and nursing professionals.