U.S. Reps. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and David Joyce (R-Ohio) have reintroduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would provide for better, more affordable nurse training, according to a news release from the American Nurses Association.
The Title VIII Reauthorization Bill is needed to continue to provide funding to more than 450,000 nursing students, but most people are unaware that the funding is “on the chopping block,” the news release states.
The ANA is urging nurses to write their representatives to indicate how important the bill is to nurses. Additionally, the ANA is pushing for more funds for the Nursing Workforce Development programs contained in the bill. They are asking for $251 million in fiscal year 2015 which would represent a 12% increase over 2014.
Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act funds the education, recruitment and retention of qualified nurses to meet the nation’s healthcare demands and provides the largest source of federal funding for nursing education. It offers financial support for nursing education programs, individual students and nurses. The programs bolster nursing education at all levels — from preparation to graduate study — and help educate nurses for practice in rural and medically underserved communities.
The bill addresses the growing shortage of registered nurses. According to the ANA website, one major grant program is the Advanced Education Nursing Grant, which provides grants to nursing schools, academic health centers, and other entities to enhance education and practice for nurses in master’s and post-master’s programs. The programs prepare nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, nurse educators,nurse administrators and public health nurses.
Funds also go to the Workforce Diversity Grant, which provides money to increase opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, including students from economically disadvantaged families as well as racial and ethnic minorities underrepresented in the nursing profession; and the Nurse Education, Practice and Retention Grant, which supports schools and nurses at the associate and baccalaureate degree level. The grant provides money to schools of nursing, academic health centers, nursing centers, state and local governments and other public or private nonprofit entities.
Other areas of grant funding are for the National Nurse Service Corps, the Nurse Faculty Loan Program, and Comprehensive Geriatric Education Grant, the latter of which provides grants to train nurses who provide direct care for the elderly, to support geriatric nursing curriculum, train faculty in geriatrics and provide continuing education to nurses who provide geriatric care.
There are four ways nurses can support the bill, according to the ANA website. Write to Congress; share your nursing story of how the bill has helped you; tell friends, family and colleagues to take action; and join the ANA.
“The federal dollars invested in Title VIII benefit not only the recipients of these programs, but more importantly, the countless patients who receive exceptional care from the nurses these programs support,” the ANA website stated.
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