AACN says 2005 proposed budget inadequate for nursing shortage

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The American Association of Colleges of Nursing said it supports President Bush's proposed $147 million budget for nursing education programs, a $5 million increase over 2004, in his fiscal year 2005 budget, but noted the amount is still inadequate to combat the nursing shortage. The increase was specifically for the Nursing Education Loan Repayment and Scholarship Program.

"Significantly more federal funding is needed to develop the nursing workforce and address the projected shortfall of 800,000 registered nurses by the year 2020," said AACN President Kathleen Ann Long.  "Given the dire need for educators to prepare nurses at all levels, legislators must make funding graduate level nursing education a top priority."

Though the association expressed gratitude, it didn't face cuts, as did medicine and allied health. AACN also said it was pleased by the budget's $4 million increase for the National Institute of Nursing Research and $2 million increase for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

To see the proposed funding levels for nursing education programs go to www.aacn.nche.edu/Government/FY2005Chart.pdf.