South Carolina AHEC Receives Funding to Establish Dedicated Nursing Workforce Unit within the SC Office for Healthcare Workforce
South Carolina AHEC received a $500,000 increase in recurring state funds for the 2023-2024 state budget to establish a dedicated nursing workforce unit as part of the South Carolina Office for Healthcare Workforce (SCOHW), a division of South Carolina AHEC.
With 58,318 actively practicing registered nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses in South Carolina as of 2020, the nurse workforce is the largest licensed health profession in the state, more than four times larger than the next biggest licensed health profession. Because of the size, complexity, and importance of the nursing workforce – a linchpin of the healthcare system – the new research unit will study the particular issues that affect the balance of supply and demand for nurses in South Carolina.
However, SCOHW will not be embarking on this work alone. The research unit will work with nursing education programs, nurse employers, practicing nurses, community partners and other stakeholders to conduct comprehensive analysis and disseminate objective, reliable information to support planning and policy decisions.
“Nursing shortages are cyclical, and COVID-19 accelerated some of the supply and distribution issues we’re now seeing,” said Katie Gaul, Director of the SC Office for Healthcare Workforce. “It will take more than just educating more nurses, which is hard to do, when, for instance, you don’t have enough faculty and clinical instructors. With better data and information, and with help from our many partners, we can better plan for future needs and hopefully smooth the shortage cycle to ensure that our population has the quality nursing care it needs in the future.”
South Carolina AHEC is grateful to the legislature for supporting this important work so stakeholders across the state will have the data and information needed to make strategic decisions about our state’s healthcare workforce. SC AHEC’s increase in state funding also included increases in recurring funds to support rural clinical health professions student training enhancement and an increase in funding for the Rural Dentist Loan Repayment Program to fund more community dentists to practice in rural and underserved areas of the state.
To view all the latest reports and publications from the SC Office for Healthcare Workforce as well as request data or more information, visit www.scahec.net/scohw.