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 nations 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 nations 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 nations 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 Americas 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 nations 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 nations 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 nations 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 nations nursing workforce.
Final FY 2006
President's Budget FY 2007
Title VIII: Nurse Workforce Development Programs at HRSA)
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 Womens 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:
Association of Womens Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
2000 L Street, NW, Suite 740
Washington, DC 20036