View the priority areas to learn about their corresponding principles for sound policies to advance health care and higher education. Spanning across these four priority areas are Core Values that serve as the foundation for this agenda.
View the 2021-2022 Federal Policy Agenda.
Models of Care
Advance Higher Education
Stabilize the immense financial impact that academic institutions and students face so they can continue to have a positive return on investment for a baccalaureate or graduate degree. Affordable higher education is not only critical for the success of the student, their family, and the community, but also for the economy and innovation. As the cost of learning rises, education budgets are being cut at all levels and academic institutions are asked to do more with less. Students, including AACN’s nursing students, are financing their degrees with federal and private loans and then facing mountains of debt upon graduation.
Remove barriers to higher education to ensure accessibility for students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and economically diverse backgrounds. Holistic admissions processes must be funded and championed by schools nationwide. Exposure for individuals to career opportunities drives innovation, encourages collaboration, benefits the economy, and achieves the goal of an educated citizenry. This is a key priority within AACN’s strategic plan.
Support rigorous accreditation that ensures high-quality and effective educational programs without creating unnecessary regulatory burden to allow students, academic institutions, and communities to flourish. Promoting excellence in colleges and universities enable them to be the nucleus in generating knowledge for the community.
Pursue Transformative Research
Expand the scientific workforce through sustained and increased funding for biomedical and behavioral research as well as training to yield an immeasurable return on investment. Scientific discoveries improve health, cure diseases, and translate to direct cost savings to the healthcare system, patient, and community. Research dollars are the lifeline for discovery, particularly for next generation investigators, and spur local economies.
Encourage research that investigates methods to improve public health and reduce health disparities. Scalable data science that reflects diversity in the population will help to inform the way data is collected, analyzed, and translated, thus, vastly improving the healthcare industry, as well as health on a local and global scale.
Support both health care and health services research at the federal level to ensure that the systems that surround our care are strong—ultimately, impacting wellness. Quality and patient-centered care is driven by transformative research, yet must protect the safety of the patient. Placing patients, their families, and communities at the center of the research endeavor, is key to improving delivery of care.
Develop a Robust Workforce
Enhance federal investment in partnerships between the academic institution, faculty, and practice environments for a sustainable nursing workforce, while increasing support for faculty careers. Fostering academic practice partnerships improves student learning, drives faculty and clinician engagement, and creates a unique environment that focuses on high-quality and cost-effective patient and family-centered care. Through these partnerships, nursing students are exposed to clinical sites where they will practice in the future.
Invest in programs that support all students’ career paths and recruit individuals from diverse backgrounds to the nursing profession. Increasing diversity in the nursing profession to better match trends and shifts in national demographics will not only create lifelong career pathways, but just as critically, improve quality and population centered care focused on individual person’s values and beliefs. See 2012 and 2021 data trends.
Implement nursing workforce policies and funding streams that reflect emerging trends focused on growth and quality in the system. Delivering 21st century care that requires rapid examination and translation depends on the ability of the workforce to adapt to continually changing landscapes.
Redefine Models of Care
Advance sustainable models of care that lead to a healthier nation. As healthcare expenditures continue to rise, with more individuals having multiple health conditions, supporting patients to better manage their own health is a core tenant of nursing care.
Invest in networks of community-based centers and in the public health infrastructure essential to ensuring attainable and equitable population-based care outside hospital walls. These family-centered healthcare delivery models, often led by nurses, address the patients’ desire to receive care in their communities.
Dedicate federal resources to health systems and providers to ensure that delivery structures adapt to emerging technological advances, and ultimately, to advance accessible and affordable health care. To make this model work, all providers must be valued for their contributions and allowed to practice to the full extent of their education and clinical training. Recognizing provider attestation ensures that team and value-based care is maximized.