Americans are living longer today. In fact, by 2050, the US Census Bureau projects that adults 65+ will account for nearly one quarter of the population. While longevity is always encouraging news, an aging population means a greater demand for long-term care. Older adults are more likely to have multiple diseases or medical conditions, and they have a greater rate of cognitive impairment.


While the need for geriatric care is on the rise, the nursing workforce is not keeping pace. The National Institute of Health estimates that 100,00 nurses in the U.S. left the profession during the COVID-19 pandemic. Added to that, almost a quarter of registered nurses (RNs) are retiring over the next five years. And nursing school enrollment is down.


Given these troubling trends, Wesley Enhanced Living is looking to the future to ensure a robust pipeline of nursing staff. During the pandemic when the need became even more evident, our Main Line Director of Nursing Kim Ratliff learned about the Revisiting the Teaching Nursing Home Initiative. The project works to strengthen partnerships between nursing homes and nursing schools, by updating coursework and giving students clinical experience that will inspire them to want to work in long-term care.


Working closely with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and Penn Nursing, Wesley Enhanced Living Main Line helped revamp nursing curricula from the 70s and 80s to be more patient-centered and “Age-Friendly Focused.” As an Age-Friendly-certified health system, Wesley Enhanced Living defines high quality care as a focus on the “4Ms”:

What Matters– help staff understand what is most important to each resident and build a care plan around their unique interests and priorities

Mobility– ensure that each older adult can move around safely in their environment to be able to maintain function and do What Matters

Mentation– prevent, identify, and treat any changes in mind and mood that could be related to dementia, depression, and delirium

Medication– use Age-Friendly medication that does not interfere with Mobility, Mentation, or What Matters to an older adult


Our Main Line community then developed Age-Friendly nursing clinicals with Penn Nursing. Nursing clinicals are supervised rotations that allow students to gain practical experience and apply classroom knowledge to real-world patient care. Says Maureen Saxon-Gioia, nursing project manager for the JHF:

Kim and her team have done an outstanding job working with Penn faculty to create positive, engaging clinical rotations for nursing students at Main Line, and taking the quality of their person-centered care for residents to the next level.

Kim Ratliff believes that the program has enhanced the lives of our residents because of the attention they receive from the nursing students. Likewise, she sees the benefits for the students: “Our Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) help the students practice nursing skills, while at the same time teaching them how to get to know the residents in skilled nursing.”


Maureen adds, “Students have been able to see the essential role and skills of not only the Director of Nursing but also of every part of the interdisciplinary team, from CNAs to activities directors. I know many students have left their rotations at Wesley with better recognition of nursing homes’ importance — and one student has changed their focus to gerontological nursing!”


The students have shown their appreciation. Emma H. writes to the Main Line nursing team: “Thank you all so much for making my first clinical so enjoyable. You made me so excited to continue on this career path.”


Lily N. says, “I truly have learned so much and am so grateful for my time here.”


Your kindness and confidence in us meant so much, and I will always remember what you taught me!” says Madison M.


Wesley Enhanced Living Main Line community is helping other Wesley locations to expand their ‘teaching nursing home’ efforts and has also reached out to encourage other nursing homes in the Philadelphia region to join the Pennsylvania Teaching Nursing Home Collaborative (which evolved from the Revisiting the Teaching Nursing Home Initiative). Kim would like to develop more partnerships with nursing schools in the area. “We want to provide more nursing students with exposure to career pathways in long-term care, and of course we want them to choose Wesley Enhanced Living,” she says.


The PA Teaching Nursing Home Collaborative (PA TNHC)

Led by the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and Health Careers Futures together with The John A. Hartford Foundation, Independence Foundation, and Henry L. Hillman Foundation, the PA TNHC is the evolution of the Revisiting the Teaching Nursing Home pilot project (2021-2023). Today, the Collaborative has grown to include over 20 schools of nursing and over 40 nursing homes from across the Commonwealth. The goals of the PA TNHC are to strengthen partnerships to advance teaching nursing homes, enhance Age-Friendly care for residents, and build tomorrow’s careforce.

Wesley Enhanced Living

For over 135 years, Wesley Enhanced Living non-profit, continuing care retirement communities have been delivering a purpose-filled life to residents. Serving approximately 1,200 residents with over 1,100 employees and six locations throughout Pennsylvania, the Wesley Enhanced Living communities provide various combinations of independent living, personal care, memory care, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing services. Wesley Enhanced Living is proud to have been named as a Great Place to Work® for the sixth year. For more information about a community near you in Doylestown, Hatboro, Media, or Philadelphia, please visit