Nurses make massive push for Congress to reauthorize workforce programs

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More than fifty professional nursing organizations are lending their voice to urge Congress to pass legislation that would reauthorize and update nursing development programs through fiscal year 2020.

The Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2015, introduced by Reps. Lois Capps (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH), was first proposed and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce in June. The bill would reauthorize current nursing workforce development programs, and update them to be more in tune with current policies and practices. The bill also would support nurses practicing in medically underserved communities.

Deborah Trautman, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, gave testimony at a hearing Wednesday on the bill's importance. The measure is backed by 55 professional nursing organizations. The groups include the American Nurses Association, the National Gerontological Nursing Association and the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.

“These grants bolster the nursing workforce, address nursing workforce diversity, increase nursing faculty, improve quality, promote interprofessional education and help meet the needs of our aging population,” Trautman said.

Trautman also noted the critical need for nursing education. The projected number of nurses set to retire will reach 80,000 in the next decade.