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Emory School of Nursing, Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition to address Georgia nursing issues through workforce center at Emory
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Jacob Gnieski
Associate Director, Media Relations & Health Sciences Communications
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To better address nursing workforce challenges and opportunities in Georgia, the Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition (GNLC) and Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University announce a partnership to house the Georgia Nursing Workforce Center at Emory School of Nursing.

“The situation facing nursing is serious and consequential,” says Linda McCauley, PhD, RN, FAAN, FRCN, dean of the Emory School of Nursing. “The shortage of nurses has long been an issue, and now there are other concerns -- insufficient nursing faculty numbers, COVID-related overwhelm, and swelling nursing demand due to the aging population –- that have added fuel to the fire.”

Statistics bear out McCauley’s observation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an average of 203,200 openings for registered nurses (RNs) annually between 2021 and 2031. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) 2023 Environmental Scan reports that Georgia has among the lowest ratios of employed RNs per population, with fewer than 750 employed registered nurses per 100,000 people. 

According to a 2022 National Nursing Workforce Study, 100,000 registered nurses left the workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 41% of the RN total is now comprised of nurses with a mean age of 36 and fewer than 10 years of work experience. Approximately 31% of nurses under age 35 say they intend to leave their position, and 32% are considering resigning, according to a 2022 American Nurses Foundation survey

“We need consistent data and solutions-minded collaborations to make nursing workforce decisions in this climate,” McCauley says. “We are excited to partner with the Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition and other state agencies and organizations to lead this effort. 

The center will research and address issues of supply and demand for nursing in Georgia, including retention, recruitment, educational capacity, and the distribution of nursing workforce resources. Key areas of work will consist of data and research, education, collaboration, and policy action, and its efforts will focus on the value, preparedness, organization, and equity of nursing care services. The center will collaborate with health care organizations, business partners, state leaders, universities, colleges, and community-based organizations.

Chelsea Hagopian, DNP, APRN, AGACNP-BC, assistant clinical professor at the School of Nursing, will serve as executive director of the Georgia Nursing Workforce Center. An ANCC board-certified adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, Hagopian said that the center’s goal is to advance the health and well-being of nurses and nursing.

“A healthy and well nursing workforce is key to a healthy and well Georgia,” Hagopian says. “The opportunity for learning and community with this center will help to strengthen and promote a diverse, inclusive, and equity-minded nursing workforce, prepared and supported to meet Georgia's health and care needs. Being a part of this important collaborative work is a privilege and a joy."

LaNelle Weems, MSN, RN, president of the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers, a national network of state nursing workforce entities, applauded the center's efforts as vital to understanding Georgia's specific nursing workforce needs.

“While the nursing shortage is a national issue, it must also be tackled on the state and local level,” says Weems. “The nursing ecosystem varies from state to state, so these centers are needed to find the best solutions to optimize nursing in their context. We are delighted that the Georgia Nursing Workforce Center is engaging in this work in our family of centers.”

The center’s genesis began with the GNLC, a grassroots organization of educational, clinical and governmental leaders seeking to transform nursing practice, education and policy through conferences, advocacy, and survey opportunities. The relocation of the Georgia Nursing Workforce Center will continue the coalition’s strong partnership with the Emory nursing school. Funding from the school will support the work of the center.

“As one of the founders and executive committee members of the GNLC, I could not be happier about the move of the workforce center to Emory University,” says GNLC executive committee member Lisa Eichelberger, PhD, MSN, BSN, dean emerita at the Clayton State University College of Health. “With the outstanding reputation of Emory and its nationally known workforce researchers, our workforce research and center will be taken to the next level and help us solve many of the challenges Georgia faces with data collection and analysis. Moving the workforce center to Emory can go a long way to make nursing a rewarding and fulfilling career for greater numbers of Georgia nurses."

About the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing 

As one of the nation's top nursing schools, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University is committed to educating visionary nurse leaders and scholars. Home to the No. 1 master's, No. 3 BSN, and No. 6 DNP programs nationwide, the school has been recognized as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nursing. The school offers undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and non-degree programs, bringing together cutting-edge resources, distinguished faculty, top clinical experiences, and access to leading health care partners to shape the future of nursing and impact the world's health and well-being. Learn more at

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