AONL Press Releases

Statement from the Tri-Council for Nursing on the Status of the U.S. Health Care Workforce during the COVID-19 Pandemic


Dec. 3, 2020

The current surge in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths has pushed the health care system into crisis. The Tri-Council for Nursing continues to assess the situation, share information, and determine ways we can help mitigate the current burden on the nursing profession and provide constructive recommendations for the future.

The Tri-Council for Nursing is comprised of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Nurses Association, the American Organization for Nursing Leadership, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and the National League for Nursing. These five organizations representing education, practice and regulation all bring a whole-system perspective to their work and collectively represent “all nurses.”

What We Know

Over the next several weeks, the need for nurses and other health professionals across the U.S. is projected to greatly exceed the supply. Many health care facilities are already taking advantage of regulatory flexibilities that expand the workforce to include recently retired health care providers and nursing students. Yet, the strain that COVID-19 is putting on U.S. hospitals is not showing any signs of abating in the near future.

America’s best chance to address these challenges is to follow COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) as well as state and local officials, including wearing a mask, social distancing, frequently washing hands and avoiding large, indoor gatherings. The Tri-Council for Nursing recognizes this is a particular challenge during the holiday season.

The Tri-Council for Nursing is focused on addressing the immediate issues that have resulted from COVID-19 such as staffing shortages, disrupted clinical education, nurse training/retraining and behavioral health support for the front line workers. This is especially critical as nurses and nursing students in some states are being called upon to administer newly approved COVID-19 vaccines and continue to respond to this crisis. Serious long-term strategies will need to be addressed as a result of this crisis. From utilizing existing programs such as the National Health Care Workforce Commission created by the Affordable Care Act1 to implementing and funding other regulatory and legislative solutions, our organizations are eager to engage the Biden Administration and the 117th Congress to meaningfully address these challenges and position America to emerge stronger from this crisis.

About the American Organization for Nursing Leadership

As the national professional organization of more than 10,000 nurse leaders, the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) is the voice of nursing leadership. Our membership encompasses nurse leaders working in hospitals, health systems, academia and other care settings across the care continuum. Since 1967, the organization has led the field of nursing leadership through professional development, advocacy and research that advances nursing leadership practice and patient care. AONL is a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association. For more information, visit