Letter from nursing community to Senate and House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittees requesting $200 million for the Nursing Workforce Development programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration i...

April 11, 2007

The Honorable _____________*

Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee

United States Senate/ House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20510/20515

Dear Senator/Representative*:

On behalf of the 2.9 million nurses who serve as the backbone of our nation’s healthcare system, the undersigned organizations are writing to respectfully request your support for increased funding in fiscal year (FY) 2008 for the Nursing Workforce Development programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Specifically, we urge you to provide $200 million for these programs to address the national nursing shortage.

As you know, an adequate supply of nurses is essential to ensuring all Americans receive quality nursing care and that our nation has the health professionals necessary to respond to natural and manmade disasters. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the HRSA Nursing Workforce Development programs support the recruitment, education, and retention of an estimated 36,750 nurses annually. This translates into the largest source of federal funding used to ameliorate the national nursing shortage, which is predicted to grow to 29 percent by 2020[1].

The nursing community is very concerned that the President’s FY 2008 budget includes a $44 million cut to nursing workforce programs, including the elimination of funding for advanced nursing education programs. We urge the Subcommittee to reject the President’s proposal and provide an overall allocation of $200 million to the nursing workforce development programs, as requested by the professional nursing community and Congressional Nursing Caucus members. With additional funding in FY 2008, these important programs will have adequate resources to address the multiple factors contributing to the nationwide nursing shortage, including the shortage of faculty – a principal factor contributing to the current shortage. Advanced nursing education programs play an essential role in supporting registered nurses interested in advancing in their practice and becoming faculty. As such, these programs must be adequately funded in the coming year.

Please know that the undersigned organizations understand and appreciate that the Congress has limited resources; however, without an adequate supply of nurses to care for our aging population, the nation’s health care system is not sustainable. We thank you in advance for your support of our request for $200 million in FY 2008 for the HRSA Nursing Workforce Development programs. Please consider our organizations available as resources to you and your colleagues on the nation’s nursing shortage and related issues.

Sincerely,

Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses

American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing

American Academy of Nursing

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

American Association of Community Colleges

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses

American College of Nurse Practitioners

American College of Nurse-Midwives

American Nephrology Nurses’ Association

American Nurses Association

American Organization of Nurse Executives

American Public Health Association

American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses

Association of periOperative Registered Nurses

American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses

American Radiological Nurses Association

Association of Rehabilitation Nurses

Association of State and Territorial Directors of Nursing

Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses

Infusion Nurses Society

National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

National Association of Neonatal Nurses

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

National Black Nurses Association

National Conference of Gerontological Nurse Practitioners

National Gerontological Nursing Association

National Council of State Boards of Nursing

National Nursing Centers Consortium

National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties

National Student Nurses’ Association, Inc.

Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs

Oncology Nursing Society

The Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc.

[1] HRSA, Projected Supply, Demand, and Shortages of Registered Nurses: 2000-2020

*This letter was sent by fax to every member of the House and Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittees.