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HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Addresses the Nation’s Nursing School Deans at AACN Meeting

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Press Release  
For Immediate Release

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Addresses the
Nation’s Nursing School Deans at AACN Meeting

WASHINGTON, DC, November 3, 2009 - On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of AACN, Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), provided a keynote address today during AACN’s fall meeting in Washington, DC.
Secretary Sebelius presented remarks to the deans of the nation’s top schools of nursing and underscored the important role nurses play in the movement toward healthcare reform and the response to H1N1.

“Nurses are the healthcare professionals patients most often see. You’re the ones conducting important research on issues like obesity. You’re the ones who give patients the personal contact, interventions, and education they need to help them heal. You pull healthcare teams together and coordinate patient care. You check back with patients to make sure they’re doing what’s important to stay well. And you’re on the front lines, so you know better than anyone that we
can’t wait for real reform,” said Secretary Sebelius.

In her remarks, the Secretary touched on a variety of issues of great concern to nursing's academic leaders, including the need for nurses to be at the table in discussions about healthcare reform, the pivotal role these providers have in responding to the H1N1 virus, and the support the Administration has given to strengthen the nursing workforce. She called for producing more nurses to serve as prevention and wellness specialists as well as more nurse practitioners to lead healthcare (or medical) homes. The Secretary also stressed the need to expand our nation’s population of nurse educators.

“AACN is grateful to Secretary Sebelius for her commitment to strengthening the nursing workforce and, in particular, for providing support for nurse faculty,” said AACN President Fay Raines. “As the voice for professional nursing education, AACN stands ready to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to meet the nation’s growing demand for nurse faculty, researchers, and clinicians.”

Secretary Sebelius also said: “The need for more nurses is enormous—this Administration knows that. Over the next decade, nurse retirements and an aging U.S. population will create the need for hundreds of thousands of nurses by 2025. But we intend to meet the demand, with nurses who have the professional skills and knowledge to provide 21st century care.”

The Secretary’s remarks from AACN’s 2009 Fall Meeting are posted online at Schools wishing to find the latest information about the H1N1 response are encouraged to visit For more information on AACN’s government advocacy efforts on behalf of nursing education, see

AACN's leadership meets with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Pictured: AACN Secretary Jane Kirschling, University of Kentucky College of Nursing; President-Elect Kathleen Potempa, University of Michigan School of Nursing; President Fay Raines, University of Alabama at Huntsville College of Nursing; HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; AACN CEO Polly Bednash; and Dean Ann Schiele, Mount Carmel College of Nursing.
(Photos by Dean Pellerzi)

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 640 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. Website:

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