Addressing the Nursing Shortage in Arizona

Aug 09, 2023


Addressing the Nursing Shortage in Arizona: Arizona Board of Nursing Announces Nurses for a Healthy Arizona Grant Recipients

Phoenix, 8/9/23 – The Arizona Board of Nursing (AZBN) is thrilled to announce the launch of the ARS 36-1803 Grant: Nurses for a Healthy Arizona and reveal the selected grantees for this crucial initiative. 

The program, known as the Student Nurse/New Graduate Clinical Placements & Preceptor Training Pilot Grant Program, aims to combat the nursing shortage in the state by expanding preceptor training programs at various healthcare institutions across the state.

In 2022, the Supported by the Arizona Legislature demonstrated its support of nursing and nursing education through the approval of HB 2691 / ARS 36-1803, the Student Nurse/New Graduate Clinical Placements & Preceptor Training Pilot Grant Program, which is designed to improve and increase the capacity of preceptor training programs for nursing students, newly licensed nurses, and specialty nurses. The primary goal of the Grant Program is to combat the nursing shortage in Arizona by increasing the number of qualified nurses and nursing assistants in the state. The AZBN has received significant funding of $25 million annually for three years from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) to address this challenge.

The key points of the Nurses for a Healthy Arizona Grant Program include:

  • $25 million annual funding for three years from state resources.
  • Program funds allocated from AHCCCS to the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
  • Eligible entities are licensed health care institutions (HCIs).
  • Proposals from HCIs may span one or multiple years.
  • Grant awards are determined based on several factors, including geographic and population distribution, the number of new nurses or nursing assistants planned to be trained and retained, cost-effectiveness compared to other program proposals, and evidence-based program design.

AZBN is responsible for developing the administrative infrastructure and the Grant Consultants and Grant funded staff accept grant application forms, reviewing and approving applications, monitoring the progress and compliance of grant recipients, collecting and analyzing data, and offering guidance and expertise related to practice readiness.

The primary objectives of the grant program are to enhance the placements and training of student nurses, new graduate nurses, and specialty nurses, improve preceptor training, and ultimately increase the number of qualified nurses and nursing assistants in the state of Arizona.

Well known and distinguished experts overseeing the Arizona Health Care Workforce, Grant Program 36-1803 include:

  • Kathy Malloch, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN
  • Kathy Scott, PhD, MPA, RN, FACHE
  • Tim Porter O’Grady, DM, EdD, APRN, FAAN, FACCWS

To date, over $20 million has been allocated to hospitals and clinics, with several esteemed healthcare institutions participating in this vital initiative. These institutions include: Banner Health, Dignity Health, Honor Health, Kingman Regional Medical Center, Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center, Abrazo Health, Oasis Behavioral Health, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Mayo Clinic, San Carlos Apache Healthcare, White Mountains Regional Medical Center, Yuma Regional Medical Center, Northern Arizona Healthcare, Tucson Medical Center, Wickenburg Community Hospital, and Lifepoint Health.

Collectively, the programs are projected to add 1,145 new preceptors, 460 new nursing students, 1,111 new graduate Registered Nurses, and 64 specialty Registered Nurses to the workforce, and are anticipated to make a significant impact on the nursing shortage in Arizona.

This initiative aligns with other grant efforts in Arizona, such as ARS 36-1802: Nurse Education Investment Pilot Program, and ARS 36-1804: Licensed Registered Nurse Transition to Practice Pilot Program, all aimed at strengthening the nursing profession and healthcare system.

The nursing shortage in Arizona is a serious concern, with a substantial number of RNs intending to leave the workforce by 2027 due to stress, burnout, and retirement. Moreover, disruptions in prelicensure nursing programs during the pandemic have raised concerns about the supply and clinical preparedness of new nurse graduates. This shortage also incurs significant costs for healthcare institutions, with the average cost of turnover for a staff RN estimated at $52,350. Each percent change in RN turnover can cost or save the average hospital $380,600 per year (Beckers Hospital Review 2023, April 11).

As of January 2022, Arizona ranked among the top 5 states with the most severe healthcare staffing shortages, with the demand for specialized nurses in Arizona projected to increase by 23% by 2025. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates approximately 195,400 openings for registered nurses in Arizona from 2021 to 2031. According to a report from Vivian Health, a national healthcare hiring marketplace, Arizona is expected to experience the most significant change in demand for registered nurses between 2020 and 2030. In 2020, there were 58,480 RNs employed in Arizona.

The AZBN firmly believes that this Grant Program initiative is the key to addressing the crisis. By providing more clinical rotations, the state can increase the number of qualified healthcare professionals and, in turn, alleviate the nursing shortage.

For media inquiries and further information, please contact:

Emma Lehner Mamaluy
Chief Counsel
[email protected]

About the Arizona State Board of Nursing:

The AZBN is the regulatory body that oversees nursing practice in the state of Arizona. Its mission is to protect and promote the welfare of the public by ensuring that each person holding a nursing license or certificate is competent to practice safely.