Letter urges more funding for nursing education

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More than 150 House lawmakers have signed a letter urging their colleagues with funding oversight to increase the amount granted for nursing workforce development programs. The letter asks for a 17% spike, to $175 million, in fiscal year 2007.

The letter says that funding for nursing education and recruitment today is just one-quarter of the appropriations provided in 1974. A nationwide nursing shortage has generally worsened in recent years, particularly in the long-term care settings. Official estimates forecast a nursing shortage of 29% by 2020.

One of the main hindrances to educating more nursing students lately has been a shortage of qualified teaching faculty. Thousands of nursing applicants were turned away last year, educators say, due to the fact that not enough teachers were available.

"Federal investment in Title VIII programs will ensure that qualified applicants are not turned away from schools of nursing by providing financial support for programs and the creation of more nurse faculty," the letter says.