Over the past 15 years, the Connecticut League for Nursing (CLN) and The Connecticut Center for Nursing Workforce, Inc. (CCNW) have been the primary organizations in Connecticut spearheading the “day to day” engagement of Connecticut’s healthcare workforce stakeholders; securing funding for various healthcare workforce initiatives; negotiating the first license agreement for access to the Sentinel Network; and raising the sponsorship dollars to host statewide Nursing and Healthcare Workforce Summits held in 2007, 2019 and 2020 with an event being planned for Spring 2023. Marcia Proto, Executive Director of both the CLN & CCNW, has been the catalyst by engaging her knowledge, relationships, and statewide and nationwide professional networks to do this work.
In Connecticut, the CCNW & CLN have been the sole source to actively engaged in “real time” data collection to better understand the healthcare workforce. After identifying the education pipelines for various nursing roles, the current supply of nurses within the state and determining the demand for these various roles, the CLN held its first statewide summit in 2007 to understand, identify and address the challenges to expanding the number of nursing graduates at all levels within the state to meet employer demand.
In 2013, the CCNW was created and has built relationships, networks, strategic partnership and aligned work initiatives to create a multi-sector collaboration with stakeholders to assess nursing and non-nursing healthcare roles. Relationships were cultivated with key agencies within the State of Connecticut including: Department of Labor, Department of Public Health, Department of Workforce Competitiveness, Connecticut Apprenticeship Program, the State Board of Nursing Examiners and the Office of Health Strategy. In addition, strategic partnerships were established with the five Regional Workforce Development Boards, and the (5) state healthcare trade associations including: The Connecticut Association for Health Care at Home, LeadingAgeCT, The Connecticut Association of Healthcare Facilities, The Connecticut Hospital Association, and The Connecticut Assisted Living Association.
A critical element of CCNW’s success to actively engage the above stakeholders was the decision to license a Healthcare Demand Model called the Sentinel Network. The Sentinel Network began as an initiative of Washington State’s Health Workforce Council, conducted collaboratively by Washington’s Workforce Board and the University of Washington’s Center for Health Workforce Studies. Connecticut was the first state to license this model which assesses the demand for over (45) key employee roles needed in all healthcare settings, sectors and organizations within Connecticut. Data captured from (97) providers in May 2019 and then (67) providers in November 2019 comprise the content of our Connecticut Data Portal which can be accessed via www.ct.sentinelnetwork.org.
These data can be sorted by “healthcare setting”, specific role that is in demand or by geographic regions. The richness, accessibility and user-friendly nature of this data portal is “open source” and can be accessed and utilized by anyone needing “real-time” demand data in Connecticut. This is a first-of-its-kind statewide healthcare workforce demand initiative that informs healthcare employers, educators, state agencies, policymakers, citizens and others about the status and current workforce needs.
As a result of this focused work to engage these stakeholders, our work culminated in the CCNW hosting its first Statewide Nursing and Healthcare Workforce Summit on July 9, 2019 bringing national experts, senior workforce researchers to share significant trends and possible solutions to stabilize and address Connecticut healthcare workforce. In this Summit, we identified that the keys to sustainability lie in:
Highlights from the July 9, 2019 Summit can be found by visiting: https://www.ctcenterfornursingworkforce.com/healthcare-workforce-summit.html.
Moreover, CCNW will host is 2nd Statewide Healthcare Workforce Summit in April 2023 to share updated healthcare education and workforce data and highlight promising practices in the areas of Workforce Planning, Recruitment, Retention and Cross-Sector Collaboration.
Marcia B. Proto, M.Ed, CAS
CT League for Nursing & The Connecticut Center for Nursing Workforce, Inc.
110 Washington Avenue, lower level
North Haven, CT 06473