Federal Bill Drafted To Help Retain and Educate Nurses
PSNA has recently become aware that Joe Lieberman, U.S. Democratic Senator has drafted a bill with two (2) very specific components to it. The bill being called the "Hospital-Based Nursing Initiative Act of 2001" and is meant to establish grant and
scholarship programs to enable hospitals to retain and further educate their nursing staffs. Grants will be offered to hospitals to:
1) Improve the quality of the work environment in their hospitals;
2) To initiate aggressive retention programs for nurses employed in hospitals; and
3) To employ aggressive recruiting tactics to attract nurses back to hospitals.
Before being awarded a grant, the hospital must meet the following criteria:
1. Have a system of outcomes measurement; which would be used to evaluate the specific care needs of the patients and the educational needs of the nursing staff to ensure that the care being provided meets patients' needs.
2. Multi-disciplinary decision-making which incorporates the input of the nursing staff when changes to care are made.
a. Have policies and practices in place that ensure nursing staff participate in decision-making and foster nursing staff's ability to maintain autonomy in the delivery of care.
3. Provides for the nurse executive of the hospital to participate in all facets of senior level management as a member of the hospitals executive team.
4. Provide a Nurse Residency Training Program for new graduate nurses entering the work force or for returning nurses.
5. Promotes and to the greatest extent possible, provides continuing education for the nursing staff.
6. Develop a recognition and reward program for nurses.
The second component of the bill is to establish a Bridge Scholarship Program which would provide scholarships to hospital-based professional nurses to complete a BSN in exchange for service upon completion of the degree.
PSNA Executive Administrator, Jessie Rohner has critiqued this bill for Senator Lieberman and, and believes it is an excellent bill with exciting ideas and creative mechanism for improving the work environment. The bill was drafted with assistance from
AONE, AHA, and numerous hospitals, both Magnet and non-Magnet. The Senator is currently looking for Republican co-sponsorship and PSNA is asking you to communicate with Senators Specter and Santorum, urging them to sign on as co-sponsors. It is imperative
to do this quickly as Senator Lieberman would like to introduce his bill this week.
You may reach Senators Specter and Santorum as follows:
The Honorable Rick Santorum
120 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
The Honorable Arlen Specter
711 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
600 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106