The U.S. health care environment is changing rapidly. Its structure, financing, and delivery are being reconfigured toward an integrated system based on managed care. Increasingly, national interest in health promotion and disease prevention is moving care away from a disease-oriented, institutionally based model to a population-focused, wellness-oriented, and community-based system. Health care consumers are diversifying in age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The approach emerging from these changes and others requires nursing to rethink, redesign, and retool its workforce to meet new challenges. This article analyzes nursing education, practice, and operations. The authors discuss the dilemmas and complexity of developing an effective nursing workforce and identify exemplary changes in other states. They suggest differentiated practice models, educational mobility, increasing representation of ethnic minorities, redevelopment of the nursing workforce, and access to nursing services.



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