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AACN Applauds the Swift Passage of the Nurse Reinvestment Act in Both the House and the Senate

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Press Release
For Immediate Release
 

AACN Applauds the Swift Passage of the Nurse Reinvestment Act
in Both the House and the Senate

Legislation Includes a Provision to Ease the Nursing Faculty Shortage

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 23, 2002 - The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) applauds federal legislators for the swift passage of the Nurse Reinvestment Act which was adopted by both the House and Senate yesterday. This new legislation addresses the nursing shortage by providing scholarships to nursing students, encouraging careers as nursing faculty, assisting nurses in furthering their education, and supporting career ladder partnerships between nursing schools and practice settings. The Nurse Reinvestment Act was introduced by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) and Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) in the House of Representatives and by Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-AR) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in the Senate in December 2001.

"We commend federal legislators for acting decisively to insure access to quality nursing care at a time when the shortage of nurses continues to grow," said AACN's President Kathleen Ann Long, PhD, RN, FAAN. "AACN would like to thank the bill sponsors and all of the nursing champions in Congress for supporting this legislation and for their keen understanding of the pivotal role nurses play in health care delivery."

"As a registered nurse, I am proud to be able to give my colleagues in the nursing field the help they need to continue providing the highest quality care to patients," said Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), a lead sponsor of the legislation. "The Nurse Reinvestment Act will encourage more people to enter the nursing profession and offer important initiatives to keep nurses in the field for longer periods of time. This will result in a healthier, more productive workforce and, more importantly, in better care for patients."

The Nurse Reinvestment Act addresses the nursing shortage on several fronts. Among the provisions are scholarships for students who agree to work in critical nursing shortage areas after graduation; grants to health care facilities to develop best practices in nursing administration and retain experienced nurses; grants to enhance education in geriatric nursing care; career ladder grants to encourage nurses to further their education; and public service announcements that promote the rewards of professional nursing.

AACN and its colleagues in the nursing community worked actively to include a provision in the Nurse Reinvestment Act that addressed the nursing faculty shortage, a growing crisis that is limiting student enrollment levels nationwide. The Faculty Loan Cancellation Program offers financial incentives to full-time students who agree to serve in a faculty position at a nursing school following graduation. "Legislators understand the direct connection between the supply of nursing faculty and the supply of practicing nurses," added Dr. Long. "We are pleased to see the provision for the Faculty Loan Cancellation Program which will remove financial barriers and encourage rapid advancement into faculty roles."

The Nurse Reinvestment Act has been forwarded to the President for his signature and, if signed, will be returned to Congress for funding. "We encourage Congress to move quickly and appropriate the funding needed to make the Nurse Reinvestment Act a reality," said Dr. Long. AACN will concentrate its advocacy efforts on securing federal funding for this legislation in the FY 2003 fiscal year.

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The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 580 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. www.aacn.nche.edu.

CONTACT:

Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231
rrosseter@aacn.nche.edu