Americans for Nursing Shortage Relief (ANSR) Testimony Regarding Fiscal Year 2007 Appropriations for Title VIII - Nursing Workforce Development Programs

Americans for Nursing Shortage Relief (ANSR)

Testimony Regarding Fiscal Year 2007 Appropriations for Title VIII - Nursing Workforce Development Programs

May 1, 2006

Submitted By: Americans for Nursing Shortage Relief (ANSR) Alliance

To: Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies; United States Senate - Committee on Appropriations

Agencies Addressed: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

The undersigned organizations of the ANSR (Americans for Nursing Shortage Relief) Alliance greatly appreciate the opportunity to submit written testimony regarding fiscal year (FY) 2007 appropriations for Title VIII – Nursing Workforce Development Programs. The ANSR Alliance is comprised of fifty-one national nursing organizations that united in 2001 to identify and promote creative strategies for addressing the nursing and nurse faculty shortages, including passage of the Nurse Reinvestment Act of 2002 – an important first step in increasing the number of qualified nurses in America.

ANSR stands ready to work with policymakers to advance programs and policies that will sustain and strengthen our nation’s nursing workforce. To ensure that our nation has a sufficient and adequately prepared nursing workforce to provide quality care to every American well into the 21st century, ANSR advocates for the following:

  • At least $175 million in funding for Nursing Workforce Development Programs under Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in FY 2007.

The Nursing Shortage

Nurses play a critical role in this nation’s health care system. With an estimated 2.9 million licensed registered and advanced practice registered nurses (RNs and APRNs), nurses represent the largest occupational group of health care workers and provide patient care in virtually all locations in which health care is delivered. This coupled by their scope of practice areas make the nursing shortage an even more interesting challenge. Some facts to consider:

  • The nursing workforce is aging. In 1980, 26% of RNs were under the age of 30. Today, approximately 8% of RNs are under the age of 30 with the average nurse 46.8 years of age;
  • Approximately half of the RN workforce is expected to reach retirement age within the next 10 to 15 years. The average age of new RN graduates is almost 30 years.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics report (December, 2005) projected that registered nursing would create the second largest number of new jobs among all occupations within nine years. In addition, employment of registered nurses is expected to grow much faster than average for all occupations through 2014. It is anticipated that approximately 703,000 additional jobs, for a total of 3,096,000, will be available for RNs by this date.
  • The national nursing shortage also is affecting our nation’s 7.6 million veterans who receive care through the 1,300 Veterans Administration (VA) health care facilities;
  • Nearly 1,800 faculty members leave their positions every year due to factors of retirement or higher wages earned as a staff nurse. Fewer than 400 faculty candidates receive their doctoral degrees each year; and,
  • The number of full-time nurse faculty required to “fill the nursing gap” is approximately 40,000. Currently, the National League for Nursing estimates that there fewer than 10,000 full-time faculty members in the system.

The Nursing Supply Impacts America’s Emergency Preparedness

Nurses play a critical role as front-line, first-responders. When word of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita spread, nurses across the country immediately volunteered in American Red Cross shelters, medical clinics, and hospitals throughout that area. Nurse midwives delivered babies in airplane hangers, and nurses trained in geriatric care assisted in caring for those evacuated from the comforts of their homes, assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Nurse practitioners diligently staffed temporary and permanent health care clinics to provide needed primary care to hurricane victims. In addition, many nurses realized their role in the comfort and support they offered as they listened to survivors recount their stories of pain and tragedy.

These stories seem particularly relevant in demonstrating the contributions that nurses provide during tragedies, and should illustrate the need to ensure an adequate supply of all types of nurses in all parts of the country. Unless steps are taken now, the nation’s ability to respond to disasters will be further hindered by the growing nursing shortage. An investment in the nursing workforce is a step in the right direction to bolster our public health infrastructure and increase our nation’s health care readiness and emergency response capabilities.

The Desperate Need for Nurse Faculty

After years of declining interest, the nursing profession is seeing the opposite occur. Many Americans have come to find nursing an attractive career because of job security, salary levels, and the opportunity to help others. However, the common theme among prospective nursing students is that due to a lack of a sufficient number of faculty they can face waiting periods of up to three years before matriculating. When all nursing programs are considered, the number of qualified applications turned away during the 2004-2005 academic year was estimated to be more than 147,000 by the National League for Nursing. Without sufficient support for current

nurse faculty and adequate incentives to encourage more nurses to become faculty, nursing schools will fail to have the teaching infrastructure necessary to educate and train the next generation of nurses that the nation so desperately needs.

The Funding Reality

Enacted in 2002, the Nurse Reinvestment Act included new and expanded initiatives, including loan forgiveness, scholarships, career ladder opportunities, and public service announcements to advance nursing as a career. Despite the enactment of this critical measure, HRSA fails to have the resources necessary to meet the current and growing demands for our nation’s nursing workforce. For example, in FY 2003, HRSA received 8,321 applications for the Nurse Education Loan Repayment Program but only had the funds to award 7% (602) of all applications. Also in FY 2003, HRSA received 4,512 applications for the Nursing Scholarship Program but only had funding to support a mere 2% (94) of all applications.

The ANSR Alliance strongly urges this Subcommittee to provide a minimum of $175 million in FY 2007 to fund Title VIII – Nursing Workforce Development Programs. This level of investment will help leverage the HRSA resources to fund a higher rate of Nurse Education Loan Repayment and Nursing Scholarship applications, as well as implement other essential endeavors to sustain and boost our nation’s nursing workforce.

Summary

Programmatic Area

Final FY 2006

President's Budget FY 2007

ANSR's Request

Title VIII: Nurse Workforce Development Programs at HRSA)

$149,000,000

$150,000,000

$175,000,000

 

ANSR ALLIANCE ORGANIZATIONS

Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses

American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc.

American College of Nurse-Midwives

American Nephrology Nurses' Association

American Organization of Nurse Executives

American Society for Pain Management Nursing

American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses

American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses

Association of periOperative Registered Nurses

Association of Rehabilitation Nurses

Association of State and Territorial Directors of Nursing

Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses

Dermatology Nurses' Association

Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association

Emergency Nurses Association

Infusion Nurses Society

National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

National Association of Nurse Massage Therapists

National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

National Association of School Nurses

National Black Nurses Association

National Conference of Gerontological Nurse Practitioners

National Council of State Boards of Nursing

National League for Nursing

National Student Nurses' Association

National Nursing Centers Consortium

National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties

Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs

Oncology Nursing Society

Society for Urologic Nurses and Associates

Society of Trauma Nurses

Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses Society

ANSR Alliance Contact Information:

Kimberly Cantor

Legislative Manager

Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses

2000 L Street, NW, Suite 740

Washington, DC 20036

Tel. 202-261-2427

Kcantor@awhonn.org