More than 60 national nursing organizations, including the American Nurses Association and the American Association of College of Nursing, are closely watching proposed bipartisan legislation to continue federal nursing workforce development programs under Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act.
The bill, introduced this summer by U.S. Reps. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), BSN, MA, RN, founder and co-chairwoman of the Congressional Nursing Caucus, and David Joyce (R-Ohio), would continue funding for nursing education at all levels, and provide support to educate nurses in rural and underserved communities from fiscal year 2016 through fiscal year 2020. It also would identify and define clinical nurse specialists, highlight the clinical nurse leader role and officially define “nurse-managed” health clinics, according to AACN.
“For over 50 years, the nursing workforce development programs have supported quality education for nurses, who in turn provide high-quality care in the community,” AACN President Eileen T. Breslin, PhD, RN, said in a news release expressing support for the legislation. “Title VIII is an essential federal program that supports the health of America through nursing care, particularly in our rural and underserved communities.”
The Title VIII programs provide support for nursing students and the development and retention of nursing faculty. For instance, according to Capps’ office, in the 2013-2014 academic year, the Nursing Workforce Diversity program supported nearly 17,000 aspiring students. The Nurse Faculty Loan programs supported nearly 2,500 students, about 40% of whom were from financially disadvantaged or minority backgrounds.
The legislation is supported by Nursing Community, a coalition of 61 national nursing organizations.