Media Relations

AACN Applauds the Introduction of the Nurse Faculty Education Act in the U.S. Senate

Share |

Press Release
For Immediate Release

AACN Partners with the CDC to Strengthen the Nation’s
Public Health Nursing Workforce
New five-year initiative focuses on nurse faculty development and
experiential learning for nursing students

WASHINGTON, DC, August 2, 2005 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) applauds the recent introduction of the Nurse Faculty Education Act of 2005 (S. 1575) which addresses one of the leading drivers of the nursing shortage, the insufficient supply of nurse educators. Championed by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and John Cornyn (R-TX), this legislation proposes to increase the number of doctorally-prepared nurses needed to assume faculty positions at nursing schools nationwide

“Without increases in the number of nurses with doctoral degrees, our nation faces serious challenges in both the access to and quality of health care,” said AACN President Jean E. Bartels. “While many legislative initiatives focus directly on feeding the pipeline of registered nurses, this legislation strategically targets one of the most serious obstacles to preparing future generations of nurses.”

Though interest in baccalaureate and graduate nursing education programs remains high, not all qualified students are being accepted at four-year colleges and universities. In fact, AACN's fall 2004 survey found that 32,797 qualified applicants were not accepted at schools of nursing last year due primarily to a shortage of faculty and resource constraints. Within this total, students turned away include 2,748 from master's programs and 202 from doctoral programs. These data are particularly disturbing since these graduate students could have potentially served in faculty positions after completing these advanced degree programs.

This Nurse Faculty Education Act seeks to increase enrollments and graduations from doctoral nursing programs and increase the number of doctorally-prepared nurses who serve as nurse educators. Faculty with doctoral degrees fill critical roles since they serve as educators of master’s and doctoral degree nursing students. These expert educators are important to strengthening the nursing workforce, serving as role models, and providing the leadership needed to implement evidence-based practice and improve patient outcomes. “Nurses with doctoral degrees are well prepared to assume the full faculty role and are equally positioned among their academic counterparts who prepare students for the other health professions,” added Dr. Bartels.

For more information on the Nurse Faculty Education Act, including a bill summary and the actual bill text, see government-affairs. For an overview of AACN’s legislative strategies related to Nursing Workforce Development programs (Title VIII, Public Health Service Act), see government-affairs/06TitleVIII.pdf.


The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate programs in nursing. Representing more than 700 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. For more information, visit


Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231