ANA’s Daley requests funding for nursing workforce

(nurse.com) The United States must develop a stronger nursing workforce to fill an estimated 1.2 million nursing jobs that will open within the next decade and to meet the increasing healthcare demands of an aging population, American Nurses Association President Karen Daley, RN, PhD, MPH, FAAN, told a congressional committee Thursday.

Daley submitted testimony to the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies to request $251 million in funding for nursing workforce development through Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act and $20 million for nurse-managed health clinics in fiscal year 2013. President Obama appropriated $251 million for nursing workforce development in his budget, but the Republican-led House of Representatives may be unlikely to agree to that total during negotiations.

Hoping to sway opinions, Daley referred to projections of a 50% increase in Medicare enrollment by 2025. She said demand for nursing care will increase significantly not only in hospitals, but in settings such as home care and long-term care.

“Contrary to the good news that there are a growing number of nurses, the current nurse workforce is aging,” Daley testified. She cited data showing more than 1 million of the nation’s 2.6 million practicing RNs are older than 50, and more than 275,000 are older than 60. “As the economy continues to rebound, many of these nurses will seek retirement, leaving behind a significant deficit in the number of experienced nurses in the workforce.” (For more on the looming nursing shortage, see http://bit.ly/Hn7SD7.)

A nursing shortage could have profoundly adverse consequences, Daley said, citing studies that “have shown that nursing shortages contribute to medical errors, poor patient outcomes and increased mortality rates.”

Daley also emphasized the need to develop more nurse educators through funding for nursing education, noting qualified nursing school applicants are being turned away due to insufficient clinical preceptors and teaching sites, lack of faculty and nursing schools’ limited capacity overall (For more on the limited capacity of nursing educational institutions, see http://bit.ly/HnS3e1.)

Regarding nurse-managed health clinics, Daley said more than 200 such centers nationwide have provided care to more than 2 million patients annually.

“ANA believes that nurse-managed health centers are an efficient, cost-effective way to deliver primary healthcare services,” Daley testified. The clinics are “effective in disease prevention and early detection, management of chronic conditions, treatment of acute illness, health promotion and more. These clinics are also used as clinical sites for nursing education.”

404