Published July 14, 2016
AACN Commends Senators Merkley and Burr for Introducing
Legislation to Support the Nursing Workforce Development Programs
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 14, 2016 – Today, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) applauds Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) for introducing the Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2016. This legislation would reauthorize the Nursing Workforce Development Programs through Fiscal Year 2021.
"AACN appreciates that Senator Merkley and Senator Burr have placed a high priority on the sustainability of these programs," said Juliann Sebastian, PhD, RN, FAAN, Chair of the Board of Directors for AACN. "These programs are a pillar for a number of our member institutions, and for many students, Title VIII support means the difference between their ability to enter the nursing profession and not. The Senators' work to introduce this legislation at a time when the demand for healthcare services continues to grow demonstrates a commitment to the future generations of practicing nurses, nurse faculty, and researchers."
In addition, the legislation proposes a set of technical changes to align the programs with current nursing practice. Specifically, it identifies and defines the Clinical Nurse Specialist, highlights the Clinical Nurse Leader role, and adds the definition of Nurse-Managed Health Clinics.
"As the husband of a nurse, I know firsthand the critical role that nurses play in all types of medical care," said Senator Merkley. "Nurses are the heart of our health care system, and as our nation's demand for healthcare services continues to rise through the coming decades, it will be essential that we recruit, train and support a robust nursing workforce. This bipartisan bill will help ensure that our federal nursing workforce policies are updated for the 21st century and can help to meet that demand."
"Nurses play a pivotal role in providing quality care for Americans day in and day out," said Senator Burr. "These dedicated individuals provide care and compassion with incredible grace, helping to keep Americans healthy and offering comfort in our most challenging hours. Nurses are there for us when we need them because of the training and preparation supported by the Title VIII nursing programs. I am proud to partner with Senator Merkley to reauthorize the Title VIII nursing programs. Our legislation will ensure that our nation's nursing workforce is prepared to meet the needs of patients in North Carolina and across our nation and it supports the life-saving work nurses do each and every day."
This bill aligns with legislation introduced by Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH) last June, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2713). The proposed legislation in the House and Senate reflects the continued bicameral and bipartisan fashion in which nursing's Congressional champions have worked to advance sound policy for better healthcare.
AACN joins the Nursing Community, a coalition of 64 national professional nursing organizations, in supporting the Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2016. For more information on Title VIII programs, and to view AACN's advocacy work on this issue, visit AACN Supported Legislation.