American Nurses Association President Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, on March 29 informed a congressional committee that there is a critical need to develop a stronger nursing workforce.
According to ANA, a projected 1.2 million nursing jobs will open within the next decade to meet the increasing healthcare demands of an aging population.
In Daley's testimony before the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, she requested support for nursing workforce development (Title VIII, Public Health Service Act) and nurse-managed health clinics.
She also noted nurses are essential to the nation's healthcare system, and Title VIII funding is needed now more than ever as a large cohort of RNs is expected to retire in the coming years.
"Cuts to Title VIII funding would be detrimental to the healthcare system and could jeopardize patient care," Daley told committee members. "I am concerned that Title VIII funding levels have not been sufficient to address the growing nursing shortage."
Referring to the influx of baby boomers, which will increase Medicare enrollment 50 percent by 2025, Daley said demand for nursing care will increase greatly not only in hospitals, but for settings such as home care and long-term care.
Daley also emphasized the need to develop more nurse educators through funding for nursing education, as qualified nursing school applicants are being turned away due to insufficient clinical preceptors and teaching sites, lack of faculty, and nursing schools' limited capacity overall. Educational capacity remains a major factor contributing to the nursing shortage.
Read more about ANA's efforts to ensure nurses play a large role in health reform here.