Nurses are the lifeblood of the health care system. Not only are they meeting patients’ needs in hospitals and similar institutional settings, but they also play a crucial role in keeping people healthy. Nurses are scientists who understand how the body works. They know how a disease process affects the patient physically, mentally, and emotionally. They know how illness affects more than the patient. And they are often the vital link between the patient and the services they need. Nurses are the largest segment of the health care workforce; an integral part of the health care team.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) emphasizes the importance of community-based care and the need to coordinate care, especially for those experiencing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and more. Exciting technological advances along with some innovative community-based programs are challenging the current nursing workforce. Will we have enough nurses to meet the anticipated demand in the future? Will nurses have the educational preparation they need to care for patients in the diverse settings that will comprise the health care system?

The nursing workforce is aging and many experienced nurses will be retiring at about the time demand for their expertise is expected to reach an all-time high. Further, the growing complexity of the health care system means nurses must obtain bachelor’s degrees, at a minimum and advanced degrees at best. Meeting these challenges is what NNPS is all about. The scholarships NNPS provides to deserving students helps them achieve their professional goals and ultimately will mean better care for all of us.