In June, I had the privilege to hear firsthand from amazing nurse leaders across the country about the state of the nursing workforce, and where we go from here.

At the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers’ annual conference, we heard from speakers like Dr. Peter Buerhaus, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP(h), in his session “Creating the 21st century nursing workforce we need to address the health needs of society post-pandemic.” And at Aspen Ideas: Health, Johnson & Johnson was honored to sponsor ‘Healthcare in Critical Condition: Who Cares When Nurses Leave?’ – a powerful panel discussion moderated by Shawna Butler and featuring Chris Friese, Karen Dale and Chris Barsotti on what’s driving nurses to leave the profession and what we can do to address the foundational challenges and create an environment where nurses can thrive.

These conversations, among many others at these important events, highlighted how nursing voices are central to solving the profession’s workforce challenges, which unresolved will create a healthcare crisis for us all.

We have all seen and heard the reports about stress, burnout, and escalating turnover. Thousands of nurses have transitioned out of bedside, while 100,000 nurses left the field altogether in 2021. And it’s not getting any better.

To stem this tide, we need to work together to cultivate workplaces where nurses can thrive – where they will want to stay and grow because they are supported and valued. Many factors go in to making this happen including, new staffing models and care delivery models that leverage their expertise and offer more flexibility, career advancement opportunities so nurses can grow within the profession, and tangible resources to support wellness and address chronic burnout.

They need all this and more, and across the healthcare system, from HR to the C-Suite, from communities to Capitol Hill and beyond – we need to work together, and the first step is including nurses in the discussions.

While nurses know what the challenges and opportunities are, they can’t solve the workforce issues alone, because the issues facing them are long-standing and often systemic. Integrated teams including physicians, IT, HR, and senior leadership, need to come together and work WITH nurses to identify solutions – and take action.

These insights inspired our first-ever NurseHack4Health Pitch-A-Thon: Redesigning a Healthy Work Environment Where the Workforce Can Thrive, an exciting opportunity for hospitals and health systems to empower nurse-led, interdisciplinary teams to collaborate, ideate, and pitch scalable solutions that address the systemic workplace challenges nurses face. A collaboration between Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Society of Nurse Scientists Innovators Entrepreneurs & Leaders (SONSIEL)#FirstRespondersFirst and ALL IN: WellBeing First for Healthcare, I’m thrilled about this opportunity to rebuild and reimagine the healthcare workforce.

As part of the Pitch-A-Thon, teams will ideate, create and pitch solutions that directly address well-being and workplace challenges across four evidence-based workforce wellbeing focus areas:

  • Flexibility & Autonomy: Empowering clinicians to leverage all of their skills.
  • Improve Efficiency: Getting rid of unnecessary processes and building a better environment.
  • Staffing Support: Considering radical ideas to get frontline teams the help they need.
  • Adequate Well-Being Resources: Thinking beyond the Employee Assistant Programs (EAP) to support staff.

Applications are due August 18th and throughout the process, teams will receive coaching support and mentorship. The top teams will be invited to pitch their ideas virtually to an expert panel of judges October 6th, and most exciting of all, awardees can receive up to $250,000 in grant funding from #FirstRespondersFirst to bring their ideas to life. And for all participants, the experience will generate new relationships and ideas, and provide a new platform for growth and innovation among health systems.

Now is the time for innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration. It’s time to reimagine workplace environments across hospitals, schools, physician offices, nursing homes, and outpatient clinics where nurses truly thrive when they come to work each day. I know that health system teams have the skills, innovation, and know-how to transform their workplaces, and I’m so excited to see what they come up with.

For 125 years, Johnson & Johnson has passionately advocated for and supported the nursing profession. We value nurses’ ideas, support their innovative approaches, and celebrate their leadership because we know nurses are vital to the functioning of our health care systems and improving access to care for all.

Want more info? Visit to learn more and start your application. 


  • Lynda Benton

    Senior Director, Global Community Impact Strategic Initiatives

    Johnson & Johnson Nursing

    Lynda is a Senior Director, Global Community Impact, with Johnson & Johnson. In this role she has responsibility for leading Johnson & Johnson Nursing, representing the company’s  125-year commitment to supporting and advocating for the nursing profession. Lynda is a passionate nurse advocate who firmly believes that to improve healthcare, nurses need to be championed and supported for their impact, empowered to raise their voices and implement their ideas, and valued as innovative leaders helping to shape the future of healthcare. She has been with Johnson & Johnson for over 30 years, with extensive leadership experience in the pharmaceutical sector, and within the  Johnson & Johnson Global Corporate Affairs group.