Skip Navigation LinksHome > March 2014 - Volume 44 - Issue 3 > AONE and the Academic Progression in Nursing Initiative
Journal of Nursing Administration:
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000038
Departments: AONE Leadership Perspectives

AONE and the Academic Progression in Nursing Initiative

Gerardi, Tina MS, RN, CAE

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Author Information

Author Affiliation: Deputy Director, Academic Progression in Nursing, American Organization of Nurse Executives, Washington, DC.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Ms Gerardi, AONE, 325 Seventh St, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20004 (

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This department column introduces readers to the Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) initiative. It discusses AONEs’ association with the program. It also highlights the important role the APIN initiative plays in the fulfillment of the IOM’s Future of Nursing Report’s call for more nurses to attain a BSN or higher nursing degree. The column discusses the successful work being performed by the APIN initiative’s action coalitions.

In 2012, the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE)—representing the Tri-Council of Nursing: AONE, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Nurses Association, and the National League for Nursing—was selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) as the national program office for the Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) initiative. The APIN initiative was created to support the 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendation to increase the proportion of nurses with a BSN to 80% by 2020, as included in IOM’s report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.1 Another APIN goal is to increase diversity in the nursing workforce.

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The APIN initiative will fund up to $300,000 over 2 years to each of 9 state action coalitions that have developed, or made substantial progress toward, statewide or regional action plans to achieve the IOM’s 80% BSN or higher workforce goal.1 Participating states are California, Hawaii, Montana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington. Each state was awarded an APIN grant to implement and evaluate 1 or more of the following practices to increase the number of nurses with a BSN or higher degree: (1) creation of competency-based curricula, (2) development of a shared statewide or regional curriculum, (3) support of RN to MSN programs with a BSN exit potential, and (4) support for community colleges offering BSN degrees. Each state developed a comprehensive action plan to accompany their grant proposal.

APIN grantees were also given funding to work on at least 1 strategy related to academic progression and at least 1 related to employment for BSN nurses. This ensures demand for the nurses’ services and makes academic-service partnerships key to the success of the initiative.

Partnerships between community colleges and universities are encouraged by the APIN initiative in order to ensure a seamless transition for nurses with associate degrees to pursue and attain their BSN degree. In addition, the APIN initiative’s goals include ensuring that nurses possess critical competencies in areas such as interprofessional collaboration, leadership, cultural competence, and safety and quality.

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APIN in Action

The work of the APIN initiative is well under way, and all state action coalitions have made significant progress with their action plans. For example, New Mexico governor Susana Martinez recently announced the state is establishing a common nursing curriculum across New Mexico and is facilitating partnerships between universities and community colleges to offer the BSN degree at more schools. In addition, the governor announced a proposal to make the state more competitive for nursing professionals by streamlining the requirements for nurses licensed in other states to become licensed in New Mexico. As 1 of 24 states participating in the nurse licensure compact (NLC), the proposal seeks to minimize the time it takes for nurses licensed to practice in non-NLC states to obtain the necessary licensure to practice in New Mexico. The governor’s proposal also seeks state funding to launch a recurring marketing and advertising campaign to recruit nurse practitioners who are interested in moving to New Mexico for employment.

As part of the APIN work being performed in California, California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) School of Nursing has formed a collaborative with 8 community colleges in the surrounding area to create an ADN-BSN program. This program provides a seamless transition for students who begin their nursing studies at 1 of the program’s 8 participating community colleges and eventually matriculate to CSULA where they complete their BSN degree. Based on the statewide Collaborative Model of Nursing Education, this program is successful because it allows for shared faculty, dual admission, integrated curriculum, quality and safety competencies, and the ability for students to complete their BSN in only 1 additional year following completion of their community college nursing program. The model is also expected to help increase the number of nurses from ethnic and racially underrepresented population groups, thereby increasing diversity in the nursing field.

Partnering with government has been fundamental to the academic progression strategy being pursued in Massachusetts. APIN grantees, the Organization of Nurse Leaders and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE), are coleading efforts to institute seamless education progression for nurses through the development of a nursing education transfer compact. Massachusetts would not be making significant strides toward achieving the IOM 80/20 recommendation1 without the important support of the DHE, who has provided the framework for the development of the nursing education transfer compact, as well as financial and analytical support to help ensure continued progress on this essential objective.

Although there is still much work to be done across the nation to increase the number of BSN or higher-educated nurses, the 9 action coalitions participating in the APIN initiative will continue to make big strides forward. For updates on the program’s progress or for more information, visit the Campaign for Action Web site at, or the AONE APIN Web site at

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1. Institute of Medicine. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2010: 12–13.

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